Thursday, September 26, 2013

Raheja family feud in EOW, senior alleges fraud by son

Mateen Hafeez & Swati Deshpande TNN

Mumbai: The family feud affecting Mumbai’s oldest construction empire, the Rs 11,000-crore G L Raheja group, has turned more bitter with the patriarch Gopal Raheja filing a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing alleging his son, Sandeep, and daughter-in-law, Durga, have fraudulently transferred shares to claim majority control in group companies. 

    He has said the original shares are in his possession.  The patriarch had filed a petition in the Bombay HC last year accusing his son of trying to usurp the business.  Sandeep Raheja did not comment. His solicitor Vivek Vashi said, “Allegations of forgery are false and are contrary to the case in the suit filed last year in the HC by his father, where he (the father) said the shares were transferred under his instructions.” 
 EOW begins inquiry into plaint of Raheja Sr’s alleging fraud
Mumbai: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has begun a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the complaint filed earlier this month by Raheja group patriarch Gopal Raheja (80) alleging that his son Sandeep and daughter-in-law Durga have fraudulently transferred shares to get majority control in the group companies. 

    The EOW completes a PE before officially registering an FIR. Apart from the son and daughter-in-law, Raheja Senior has named in his complaint a company secretary, Durga’s father Shaymlal Wadhwani and her mother Bindoo (all referred to as nonapplicants by the investigating officer). 

    Police said the complaint states that Gopal Raheja recently discovered that the non-applicants, in order to take fraudulent control of two companies of the Raheja group (Ferani Hotels and K Raheja Realty Pvt Ltd), transferred shares of the companies although he (G L Raheja) is in possession of the original shares. The non-applicants filed returns of these “transfers” to the statutory authority, the Registrar of Companies. Police said the complaint also states that
“they transferred 1,877 shares of K Raheja Homes Pvt Ltd in Palm Groves Hotels, which were in his (Sandeep’s) daughter’s name, and filed fraudulent returns.” 

    Raheja Sr has alleged that his son and daughter-in-law have committed offences of forgery, criminal breach of trust and of furnishing false information to public servants. 
A police officer said, “There is a long-pending dispute between Raheja and his family members mentioned in the complaint over distribution of the company’s assets. The father has filed a suit in the HC to restrain his son from taking any steps contrary to the G L Raheja family arrangement of 1996.” 

    The officer added, “Gopal Raheja has less than 45 per
cent share. We are making inquiries and have not summoned Sandeep yet. We will start that process soon.”  Sandeep’s solicitor Vashi said, “We have not been provided with a complaint copy yet. We will file an appropriate legal reply when we are.”  Vashi pointed out that this was “a case of contradictory claims made by the father. We will negate the accusation and demonstrate through submissions made so far in court, the falsity of the complaint.” 

    Vashi also said, “The father’s suit claimed that transfer of shares was done on his directions, which gave his son majority control.”   Gopal Raheja had sought court intervention for enforcement of his family arrangement saying that the share transfer on his instructions was merely temporary. His contention now in the EOW complaint is that the transfer happened without his knowledge. 

    The HC had asked the father and son to settle the dispute amicably out of court. Efforts at mediation were on but have produced no concrete result so far.  Sources close to Sandeep’s family said filing of a criminal complaint would only lead to a breakdown of talks.

What Raheja Sr alleged Sept 2012 | G L Raheja moved the Bombay HC against his son Sandeep and daughter-inlaw for allegedly trying to “usurp” his real-estate empire
    He accused his son and daughter-in-law of ill-treating him. He claimed they were wrongly trying to oust him from 25 companies that he had set up and controls. He accused his son’s parents-in-law of instigating him to act against an earlier GL family agreement
His son Sandeep’s response in HC
    “My father filed the suit against me as I had objected to his intention
to marry a younger person”
    The suit is baseless and “replete with false, slanderous statements against me and my family. It is full of contradictions.” He said his father has in 2007 willed all his estate to him. The dispute is of a commercial nature
    Sandeep rebuffed Gopal’s claim that the 2005 arrangement was an “interim measure”, said he is the majority shareholder

The Times of India, September 26, 2013

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