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Last Updated : Jun 25, 2020 12:46 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Billions of pounds on paper: Hinduja brothers take dispute over letter 'dividing' family assets to UK court

The letter in question declares that the brothers appoint each other as executors and that assets in any ones' names belongs to all four.

UK-based Hinduja brothers have taken their dispute over family assets to the High Court in England, a ruling showed.

The brothers are locked over disputed "validity and effect" of a letter dated July 2, 2014. The case was brought to the court by eldest and 'patriach' Srichand Parmanand Hinduja, 84, against brothers GP Hinduja, 80, PP Hinduja, 75, and AP Hinduja, 69.

The letter in question declares that the brothers appoint each other as executors and that assets in any ones' names belongs to all four. Another letter dated July 1, 2014 is also under petition.

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Justice Sarah Falk in her judgement on June 23 stated: "In summary, SP seeks a declaration that neither document has legal effect, whether as a will, power of attorney, declaration of trust or other binding document, or alternatively that the documents are revocable and have been revoked."

"Additional relief is also sought, in particular an injunction restraining use of the documents and an account of the persons to whom the documents have been submitted and steps taken in reliance on them," she notes.

Presiding over a private hearing in the Chancery Division of the High Court, Justice Falk also partially ruled against a privacy order in the case and agreed for S P Hinduja's daughter, Vinoo, to act on her father's behalf as his "litigation friend" and safeguard her father's interests due to his ill health as a result of a form of dementia.

"I have concluded that the court should exercise its power under CPR 21.6 to appoint Vinoo as SP's litigation friend...There is no evidence to indicate that Vinoo's statement that her father has asked her to act for him in the proceedings because he is unable to do so is anything other than accurate," the ruling notes.

The High Court judgment makes references to the family's other legal proceedings, including over Hinduja Bank in Switzerland and confidential proceedings in Jersey.

It also notes that the three defending brothers contend that they have been prevented from seeing their eldest brother, SP Hinduja, for some time.

"It will be apparent from the judgment of the High Court in England, that SP Hinduja's health has been deteriorating for a number of years suffering from Lewy Body disease, which is a form of dementia. Vinoo, his younger daughter, acting as his Litigation Friend is bringing these proceedings on his behalf," said a joint statement by the other three Hinduja brothers.

"It is very unfortunate that these proceedings are taking place as they go against our Founder's and family's values and principles that have stood for many decades, especially, 'everything belongs to everyone and nothing belongs to anyone'. We intend to defend the claim to uphold these dearly held family values," they note.

Referring to the issue as "private family matters" now subject to litigation, they add: "We would also stress that this litigation will not have any impact on our global businesses, which will continue to function as they have been."

Following multiple media reports, brother GP Hinduja, PP Hinduja and AP Hinduja issued a public statement, which read: "It will be apparent from the Judgment of the High Court in England, that SP Hinduja's health has been deteriorating for a number of years suffering from Lewy Body disease, which is a form of dementia. Vinoo, his younger daughter, acting as his Litigation Friend is bringing these proceedings on his behalf."

"It is very unfortunate that these proceedings are taking place as they go against our Founder's and family's values and principles that have stood for many decades, especially, "everything belongs to everyone and nothing belongs to anyone". We intend to defend the claim to uphold these dearly held family values. We would also stress that this litigation will not have any impact on our global businesses, which will continue to function as they have been. We hope you will understand that these are private family matters which are now the subject of litigation and we cannot comment any further," it added.

The Hinduja brothers, who run the Hinduja Group of companies, have an estimated fortune of 16 billion pounds, according to the 2020 'Sunday Times Rich List'. Their business conglomerate, based in Mumbai and headquartered in London, covers a wide range of sectors including automotive, hospitality, banking and healthcare.

(With inputs from PTI)
First Published on Jun 24, 2020 09:10 am
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