Vijaypat Singhania says son Gautam has reduced him to hand-to-mouth life
TROUBLED TIMES: Vijaypat Singhania says son Gautam running Raymond like a personal fiefdom
- Raymond Ltd’s Vijayapat Singhania has blamed his son for his “hand-to-mouth” state of existence
- Dr. Singhania has now handed over the business to son, Gautam Singhania
- He had recently filed a petition in Bombay High Court seeking possession of a duplex in the 36-storey JK House on Malabar Hill
MUMBAI: One of the country’s richest men, who spent more than two decades dressing up the Indian male, is now broke, and by his own admission is living a “hand-to-mouth” existence. And he blames only one person for this – his son.
Dr Vijaypat Singhania, who built Raymond Ltd into one of the largest apparel brands in the country before handing over the business to his son Gautam, is today a bitter man residing in a rented row house in south Mumbai’s upscale Grand Paradi society.
Two days after Mumbai Mirror reported that he had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking possession of a duplex in the redeveloped 36-storey JK House on Malabar Hill, his lawyer told the court on Wednesday that the retired tycoon was struggling financially.
JK House was a 14-storey structure when it was unveiled in 1960. Four duplexes in the building were later handed over to a Raymond subsidiary Pashmina Holdings. In 2007, the company decided to go in for redevelopment.
As per the deal Dr Singhania and Gautam; Veenadevi, widow of Dr Singhania’s brother Ajaypat Singhania; and her sons Anant and Akshaypat were to get a 5,185 sq ft duplex each in the new building on a payment of Rs 9,000 per sq ft.
Already, Veenadevi and Anant have filed a joint petition, while Akshaypat has submitted an independent petition, in the Bombay High Court staking claim to their apartments.
Senior Advocate Dinyar Madon, who is representing Vijaypat along with law firm Bachubhai Munim and Co., told the court that while the 78-year-old gave away all his wealth to his son, the son is now driving “him out of everything.”
Madon said Dr Singhnia gave up all his shares in the company worth around Rs 1000 crore in his son’s favour, but now he has been left to fend for himself by Gautam. “They are trying to squeeze him (Dr Singhania) now. All his perks – like a car and a driver — have been taken away,” Madon said.
Representing Raymond, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, along with senior advocate Virag Tulzapurkar and law firm Wadia Ghandy & Co. submitted that Gautam had not been made a party in the petition and that it was restricted to the two companies involved — Pashmina Holdings and Raymond Ltd.
Madon asked for an injunction against the company from creating any rights in the duplex on the 27th and 28th floor of the redeveloped JK House. He also sought Rs 7 lakh per month from the company, saying that Dr Singhania was entitled to an alternate accommodation at the company’s cost.
While Dwarkadas agreed to an injunction on creating third-party rights in the duplex, he objected to the demand for rent by Dr Singhania. He sought time to file a reply, saying that a resolution to pay Dr Singhania rent and handover the duplex was rejected by the shareholders of the company at the company’s Annual General Meeting held in June this year.
Madon alleged that Gautam seemed to be occupying all the four duplexes (fourth duplex is Gautam’s), and that the company had created a different route, which was that he was the CMD, therefore he could do so.
Justice Girish Kulkarni, after hearing both the parties, asked them to try and settle the case among themselves. “This kind of litigation should not have come to the court at all. It should have been settled,” the court observed.
Counsels on both the sides agreed to initiate the talks
The court, however, also passed the injunction order with respect to the duplex claimed by Dr Singhnia and asked Raymond to file its reply by August 18, while scheduling the next hearing for August 22.