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We don't want a rupee from the will: Birlas

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Last updated on: July 15, 2004 22:28 IST

The Birla families on Thursday made it clear that they do not want "a rupee" of the assets of the late Priyamvada Birla but they were united to secure the estate for charity.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Birla families  -- K K Birla, B K Birla, G P Birla, S K Birla, C K Birla, Siddharth Birla, K M Birla and Yash Birla -- it was stated that, "The purpose of the statement is to make it clear that the Birla families are united to secure the estate for charity as late M P Birla had intended and none of the families would like to have any share of the assets of late MP Birla and Priyamvada Birla."

"The Birla families appeal to the media to take note of this solemn declaration of theirs so that their reports are consistent with the fundamental stand of the Birla families - not contrary to it," the statement said.

It comes in the backdrop of the reported battle over the purported will left by Priyamvada, who died 13 days ago, in favour of R S Lodha.

"This statement in regard to the purported will of Priyavamada Birla is intended to make public the unanimous and agreed opinion within the Birla families about the issue," it said.

The statement said, "There are media reports and comments suggesting that the Birla families are contesting the purported will to assert their right or the rights of some members of their families to the estate of late Priyamvada.

"This is clearly baseless. In fact, the unanimous view of all Birla families is that none of the Birla families want a rupee of the assets of late Priyamvada Birla.

"The Birla famlies are united to secure the estate for charity as Late M P Birla had intended and none of the families would like to have any share of the assets of late M P Birla and Priyamvada Birla."

Priyamvada Birla, who had died on July 3, had bequeathed the entire Rs 5000 crore (Rs 50 billion) assets of M P Birla group to the group co-chairman Lodha who was working closely with the family for nearly two decades.

The Birlas, after initial shock following the revelation of Priyamvada Birla's will last Monday, had come out in the open against Lodha and declared that they were going to contest it legally.

The family has already filed a caveat in the Calcutta high court to prevent the authentication of the controversial will by Lodha and has also fired a legal notice on him for a certified copy of it.

"The Birla families know that late M P Birla had clearly and unequivocally decided to leave his entire estate for charity and his desire was repeated several times by late M P Birla to the family and family friends," the statement said.

There was, however, no further legal action today as the Birlas apart from issuing the joint statement were mainly busy in observing the 'shraadh' ceremony of Priyamvada Birla.

Birla patriarch Basant Kumar Birla, on Thursday morning, confirmed that the family has already sought the copy of the will and only after its receipt would the next course of action be decided.

"It is quite natural for us to seek a copy of the will when someone is claiming that he has inherited M P Birla's assets and our solicitors are moving accordingly by serving a notice to Lodha," he said.

The Birla family, however, did not receive the copy of the will till late Thursday evening, an official close to S K Birla Group said.

The other main player in the entire drama, Lodha, however, remained silent for the third day as he refused to take calls from media persons and even stayed away from Priyamvada Birla's 'shraadh' ceremony at Birla Park attended by all the members of the Birla clan present in Kolkata.

On the other hand, there were strong rumours about a possible compromise formula being worked out by the two sides but a source in the Birla family scotched them.

"These are all rumours. So far as the Birlas are concerned, there is no possibility of going into any compromise with Lodha," the source said.

Birlas were expected to fire another salvo on Friday after the end of 13-day mourning period.

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