India’s billionaire Hinduja family’s truce uncertain, London court hears

By Sam Tobin

LONDON (Reuters) – India’s billionaire Hinduja family’s apparent truce over the future of its global business empire is at risk, a lawyer representing patriarch Srichand Hinduja told a London court on Monday.

The lawyer said there were lawsuits and “threatened lawsuits” between members of the family, raising the prospect the Hinduja family, whose business spans sectors including banking, chemicals and healthcare, faces further litigation.

A ruling published in November said the Hindujas’ lawyers had told a judge in June that they would end “all disputes existing between them in all jurisdictions”, including a lawsuit at London’s High Court over the Hinduja family’s assets.

The wider dispute had come to light in separate proceedings centred on the health of 87-year-old Srichand, who suffers from dementia.

His younger brother Gopichand, 83, had challenged the legitimacy of a lasting power of attorney granted to Srichand’s daughters, Vinoo and Shanu.

Spokespeople for Gopichand and Vinoo Hinduja did not immediately respond to requests for comment after Monday’s hearing.

Nikki Singla – who represents Srichand’s court-appointed deputy, a lawyer managing Srichand’s property and affairs – said on Monday that not all of the London lawsuit was resolved, though the “lion’s share” had been.

He told Judge Anthony Hayden, who oversaw the dispute centred on Srichand’s health, that there were “many pieces of litigation and threatened litigation”, including in Mauritius and the Channel Islands, with “murmurings of (legal) proceedings in India”.

The judge noted that Singla on Monday repeatedly used the word “armistice”, which he said was “a temporary cessation of hostilities”.

“But that is not what I was told this (previous agreement) was – this was a treaty signalling the end of the war,” Hayden added.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; editing by Barbara Lewis)