In yet another chapter in the battle raging on in Mumbai’s leading real estate family, Niranjan Hiranandani and his daughter Priya Vandrevala have moved court against each other over family properties, including in Mumbai. At stake is $7 million, claims Priya.
Priya, who lives in London, dragged her father and her brother Darshan Hiranandani to the Delhi high court to restrain them from “alienating their Powai properties” and diluting their stake in the partnership firm. She said the reason for seeking such protective orders is because she expects a final award from an international arbitration tribunal in her favour any day now.
Priya and her father fell out in 2009. They had entered into a business deal in 2006 to jointly develop real estate in India. The deal, a ‘business associate agreement’, excluded certain ongoing projects that Niranjan and Darshan were permitted to continue with. Priya’s case is that when she found they were going ahead with certain developments they were not permitted under the deal, she invoked the arbitration clause. The dispute landed in 2010 before the London Court of International Arbitration, a leading arbitral body. The panel was headed by former British first lady Cherie Blair-TOI was the first to write about this. The other arbitrators included renowned arbitration lawyer Lucy Reed and former Delhi high court Chief Justice A P Shah. Her plea said the tribunal had passed an interim award (decision) in her favour partially in 2013 by holding that the father-son duo was in breach of several clauses of the agreement and she was liable to be paid damages. Priya said the arbitral tribunal in London has indicated its intent to issue a liability phase costs award of $7 million to her.
The plea by Priya was filed four days after her father moved Bombay high court with a similar plea to protect his and his son’s interest in case the arbitral panel passed a final decision on damages in their favour.
Niranjan opposed Priya’s petition and questioned the very jurisdiction of the Delhi HC to hear it. She too opposed his petition as “frivolous”, claiming in her petition that the final award would be in her favour as indicated by the arbitral tribunal.
Her case rests on recent media reports that her father and brother are planning to restructure the Hiranandani Group and corporatize it. She said her apprehension is that it would then defeat and undermine her rights to recover damages she would be entitled to. She also said her father has “done nothing to dispel her apprehensions”. While Niranjan had said the media reports were “inaccurate”, Priya said he didn’t refute statements attributed to the group spokesperson.
Her father’s plea in the Bombay high court is to ask her to deposit Rs 50 crore to secure the high cost of ongoing and future litigation abroad. The HC has issued a notice to her and the matter is pending. The Delhi HC has reserved the matter for orders. Niranjan Hiranandani could not be contacted for comment.
Source: ET Realty
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