Appeals filed by MP Birla Group firms, Lodha admitted in Calcutta HC

Appeals filed by M P Birla Group cable companies - Universal Cables Ltd, Vindhya Telelinks Ltd and Birla Cable – and Harsh Vardhan Lodha were admitted on Wednesday for hearing before the division bench of the Calcutta High Court.

After admission of the appeals, the Division Bench granted time till tomorrow, when the applications will be taken up again for consideration of interim relief sought by our clients, said Debanjan Mandal, partner, Fox & Mandal, who represents Lodha.

The three companies and Lodha moved applications challenging a verdict passed by a single judge on Friday that restrained Lodha from holding office in M P Birla group companies.

The main grounds of appeal are that promoter group entities, which were not part of the estate of Priyamvada Birla, were asked to follow instructions from the APL Committee, appointed by the court to oversee and administer the estate of Priyamvada Birla, whereas, within the larger promoter group, the estate is only a minority shareholder in all the operating companies.

According to the Lodhas, though arguments over reappointment of Harsh Lodha pertained to boards of only three companies in 2019 and 2020, the order affects 30 entities of the promoter group whose right to management was affected and which were asked to vote as directed by the joint administrators of Priyamvada Birla’s estate though they are entities and not part of the estate.

The single judge order mentioned that Priyamvada Birla had controlling shareholding in the investment companies either by direct investment or along with other investment companies and Priyamvada Birla and the investment companies, along with manufacturing companies, through cross shareholding, had controlling interest in all manufacturing companies.

This was the view of the APL Committee and the Birlas.

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