The UK-based Hinduja brothers are locked in a legal dispute in the High Court in England over their billionaire family's assets.
The case brought by Srichand Parmanand Hinduja, 84, described as the "patriarch" of the family, against brothers G P Hinduja, 80, P P Hinduja, 75, and A P Hinduja, 69, revolves around the "validity and effect" of a letter dated 2 July 2014.
This letter which was signed by all four brothers six years ago includes statements to the effect that the brothers appoint each other as their executors, and that assets held in any single brother's name belong to all four. A related second letter, dated 1 July 2014, is also linked to the dispute.
"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of attorney, declaration of trust or other binding document, or alternatively that the documents are revocable and have been revoked," Justice Sarah Falk said in the notes of her judgment in London on Tuesday.
"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.
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.
Ashok Leyland, the second-largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, is a flagship business of Hinduja Group. The ongoing litigation is over the Switzerland-based Hinduja Bank owns close to 5 percent stake in Ashok Leyland.
Hinduja Bank is a small-sized bank based in Switzerland with total assets of 343 million Swiss francs (Rs 2,744 crore) for the year 2018. The latest financial data is not available on the bank's website.
The SP family have consolidated their position in the bank. Last week, SP's 29-year old grandson Karam Hinduja had taken over the CEO of the bank and news reports suggest that this may have irked the Hinduja brothers further. Karam's mother Shanu Hinduja is already the chairperson and SP, who currently presides over the bank, is chairman emirates.
The brothers are fighting over family assets in courts of London, New Jersey and Switzerland.
The London court has 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.
The court also notes that the three defending brothers contend that they have been prevented from seeing their eldest brother, Srichand P Hinduja, for some time.
Referring to the issue as "private family matters," the Hinduja brothers have said that "this litigation will not have any impact on our global businesses, which will continue to function as they have been."