In a feud between tycoon Lalit Modi, his mother, R V Raveendran to mediate
Lalit Modi family disputes are not ending with high-profile lawyers on both sides. The Supreme Court on Monday appointed former apex court judge Justice R V Raveendran as a mediator to settle the family property dispute involving businessman and former IPL head Lalit Modi and his mother Bina Modi, over the division of father Industrialist late K K Modi. The apex court observed that counsel appearing for both sides agreed that they would go without any pre-condition and with an open mind to settle the dispute in mediation.
The bench also comprising justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli asked the parties to maintain confidentiality during the mediation. On July 28, Lalit Modi and his mother had told the bench that the apex court-mandated mediation to resolve a long pending property dispute in the family had failed. The top court on December 16 last year, had taken the consent of rival parties to the family property dispute and had appointed former apex court judges – Justices Vikramjit Sen and Kurian Joseph – to mediate and help the Modis to find an amicable solution.
The top court was hearing Lalit Modi’s appeal against the judgment of a division bench of the Delhi High Court that the anti-arbitration injunction lawsuit filed by Bina Modi, wife of late industrialist K K Modi, against her son is maintainable. During the hearing on Monday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Bina Modi, told the bench that they would not alienate any of the trust property.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Lalit Modi, told the apex court that they have moved an application seeking to restrain Bina Modi from alienating any of the trust properties. “Now again I am proposing, are you willing for another round of mediation? Not arbitration. Are you willing?,” the CJI observed during the hearing. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, who also appeared for Lalit Modi, said an interim status quo should be granted and no property should be alienated. The bench observed that Sibal has stated that no trust property will be sold. “If all of you will agree, I will suggest one name, only for mediation. Justice Raveendran,” the CJI said.
A lawsuit had earlier been filed by Bina Modi. It sought to restrain the arbitration proceedings initiated by Lalit Modi, a founder of the Indian Premier League (IPL), in Singapore over the dispute. In December 2020, the division bench of the High Court held that it has the jurisdiction to decide Bina Modi’s plea challenging Lalit Modi’s move to initiate arbitration proceedings in Singapore. The division bench had set aside the judgment of a single judge of the High Court, which had said it does not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate the anti-arbitration injunction suits filed by Lalit Modi’s mother Bina, his sister Charu and brother Samir and they are open to taking such pleas before the arbitral tribunal in Singapore.
The division bench had remanded two civil suits to the single judge for further proceedings, in accordance with the law, from the stage of issuance of summons and directed the registry to list them for hearing. According to the case, the trust deed was executed in London by K K Modi as settlor/ managing trustee and Bina, Lalit, Charu, and Samir as trustees, and in pursuance of an oral family, the settlement was recorded between them on February 10, 2006. K K Modi died on November 2, 2019, after which the dispute emerged amongst the trustees.
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