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Ambanis to Wadias, 10 family feuds in India's business houses

Shivinder and Malvinder
Following a long drawn battle with outsiders, a crack emerged between the Singh brothers of Fortis on Tuesday when one dragged another to the NCLT. Shivinder and Malvinder have been embroiled in a web of corporate and legal hassles of late.

Yesterday's lawsuit is related to the financial troubles at the group businesses RHC Holding, Religare Enterprises and hospital chain Fortis Healthcare. 

Shivinder Singh said he had filed a lawsuit against older brother Malvinder Singh, alleging “oppression and mismanagement” at their joint businesses.

Shivinder, who has decided to break business ties with his sibling, said the case, which also accuses former chief of financial services firm Religare Enterprises Sunil Godhwani, was filed in the National Company Law Tribunal, a quasi-judicial body for corporate governances.

Here are 10 famous public feuds in India's business families:

An earlier feud in the Singh family

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In the 1980s, Bhai Mohan Singh split the business between his three sons: Parvinder, Manjit and Analjit. Ranbaxy came to Parvinder. There was some heartburn amongst the two younger brothers but it didn't come to the surface. The family saga turned nasty soon when Bhai Mohan Singh and Parvinder sparred in public over control of Ranbaxy. Subsequently, in 1999 in a boardroom coup of sorts Bhai Mohan Singh was forced to bow down and Parvinder took over the company. Shivinder and Malvinder are Parvinder's sons.

Mukesh Ambani vs Anil Ambani

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Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of the Reliance business empire, died in July 2002. Mukesh then became chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, and Anil took the mantle of vice-chairman and managing director. The feud between Mukesh and Anil became public in November 2004. In June 2005, the family reached a settlement to split the Reliance business in a deal announced by their homemaker mother Kokilaben. The formal split happened in 2006. Mukesh got the flagship Reliance Industries, with interests in petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, refining and textiles. Anil got telecoms, power, entertainment and financial services businesses.

Cyril Shroff vs Shardul Shroff

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India's biggest law firm, Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh Shroff and Company, was split between warring brothers Cyril Shroff and Shardul Shroff, in 2015. Shardul and Cyril's mother had willed her equity in the company in favour of the former, the elder of the two, which led to a legal showdown. Ultimately the matter was resolved and the firm was divided. 

 

Singhania Senior vs Junior

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Veteran industrialist Vijaypat Singhania and his son Gautam Singhania, Chairperson and Managing Director of Raymond Ltd, had a public spat related to property that went to the court. As per a 2007 family agreement, Vijaypat Singhania, his son Gautam, and the widow and two sons of Vijaypat's brother Ajaypat Singhania were to get a duplex each in JK House, a family property. But, Gautam took the matter to shareholders who voted against the plan.

Kirloskar Part 1

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Mr Vijay R. Kirloskar, Chairman and Managing Director, inaugurates National (Steel and Power) Expo 2013 in Raipur

At the turn of the millennium, the Kirloskar Group was divided among family lines following clashes after the group patriarch S L Kirloskar's death. Vijay R Kirloskar has exited the group to pursue his own vision and business goals.

Kirloskar Part 2

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Photo: Sanjay Kirloskar

What started as a feud between the Kirloskar brothers—Sanjay (60) and Atul (61)—over the construction of a gate at their homestead in Model Colony in January, 2017, soon snowballed into a fight between the matriarch, 82-year-old Suman Kirloskar, and her younger son, Sanjay, with the former claiming that her son had usurped a 10-crore land parcel at the family’s Lakaki Bungalow. In a fresh twist in the family’s bitter dispute, Sanjay Kirloskar has sought a partition of assets held by Chandrakant Shantanu Kirloskar Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), Economic Times reported in April 2018.

Onkar S Kanwar vs Narinder Jeet Kanwar

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Onkar S Kanwar is no stranger to controversy. In the early 1990s, he had an open spat with his father, Raunaq Singh, over who should control Apollo Tyres. He won finally, but not before a lot of dirty linen had been washed in public.

In 2013, his brother, Narinder Jeet Kanwar, moved the Company Law Board in Chennai charging Kanwar of mismanaging the company.

Rajan Nanda vs Anil Nanda

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Photo: Rajan Nanda

 

Once Nanda Sr passed away in 2000, Anil Nanda appeared to have lost interest in staying united with the family. He chose to walk away with automotive component maker Goetze India, in which he bought Escorts' holding.

In 2003, when Rajan Nanda wanted to sell a chunk of Escorts Heart and Research Institute, Anil waged a public battle against his brother until the move was scuttled.

Today, Anil is sitting pretty. Goetze, in which he owns close to 30 per cent equity, is financially sound, leaving enough for him to indulge his finer tastes - such as embroidered jeans.

 

Wadia vs Wadia and Goenka

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Pic: Nusli Wadia

Nusli Wadia, often called a 'corporate samurai' for his legendary business battles with Dhirubhai Ambani and Ranjan Pillai, had his first tussle with his father. Neville wanted to sell off a Bombay Dyeing Ltd to R P Goenka, but the younger Wadia resisted, and ultimately had his way by courting support from Tatas and worker unions. 

Bajaj vs Bajaj

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Pic: Rahul Bajaj

Kushagra Bajaj, unconvinced of the way the group was being run by Rahul Bajaj, seeked transfer of two companies, a sugar producer and a consumer products maker, from the clan. A public feud ensued at the end of which he got what he wanted.

Here are 10 famous public feuds inside India's business families:


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