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I will stay with Gautam if I am not humiliated’

January 12, 2019 05:52 AM

COURTESY MIRROR JAN 12

I will stay with Gautam if I am not humiliated’
Dr Vijaypat Singhania says he has never been approached by his son in the past two years. And that he hasn’t “exposed” the current Raymond Group head in his upcoming book
| Sunil Baghel and Sharmeen Hakim
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Dr Vijaypat Singhania, former chairman of the Raymond group, says his son Gautam, the current chairman and managing director of the company, has not approached him in any way in the past two years, let alone “sit across and discuss issues,” as Gautam put it in a recent interview in the Times of India. “He is talking through the media, therefore even I am talking through you (media). I hope this isn’t another media bluff (of his),” said Singhania.

In the aforementioned interview, published on January 10, Gautam also said his estranged father was welcome to stay with his (Gautam’s) family. Singhania told this newspaper that he was willing to stay with Gautam’s family, provided it was done legally, and he was allowed to live with honour and “not humiliated.” Another condition the patriarch put forward is that he should be granted full access to his grandchildren – Gautam’s two daughters, Niharika and Nisa – and to all the facilities at the JK House, which Gautam and his family have access to.


“If he is ready to accept these conditions, lawyers from both the sides can sit together and formulate legal documentation. But, if I am not granted access to my grand-daughters, then I don’t want to live with him at all,” Singhania said in an interview at his daughter Shefali Ruia’s office at Nariman Point, in presence of his lawyer Vibhav Krishna.

Singhania is busy with the Arbitration tribunal hearing going on in the JK House case that he had filed before the Bombay High Court in 2017. The hearings are being conducted by three retired Supreme Court judges, and Singhania’s crossexamination has been going on. The feud between Singhania and Gautam erupted two years after his son was handed over the reins of the company in 2015. Singhania was removed as the chairman emeritus of Raymond last year.

Singhania said the reason for his insisting on legal documentation is because of trust issues he has with his son, and because of his conduct with him in the past. Singhania clarified that even before he approached the Bombay High Court in August 2017, he (Singhania) had discussed his issues in two family meetings, and that Gautam, who had agreed to resolve things, backtracked on both occasions. Singhania also claimed that he had gone to great lengths to patch up with his son by involving his elder cousin Bharat Hari Singhania, one among the only three people alive from his generation, including himself, but Gautam did not respond positively to that overture as well.

“Bharat Hariji came down to Mumbai some six to eight months ago, after I told him everything. He spoke to him (Gautam) and initially he said yes, but later he said he did not want to talk about the issue,” he told this newspaper. “We shall see how genuine his offer is this time,” he added.

Singhania also said that Gautam did not visit him when he underwent a heart surgery in London in March 2017 (a few months before he approached the HC). “He did not even let my granddaughters visit me.

He (Gautam) made only a cursory visit to the hospital in Mumbai when I had gone for a check-up about a month before the surgery. But he never came to London,” Singhania said. He added that the two of them did not utter a word when Gautam visited him at the hospital in Mumbai, even though he was in the same room as his father for about 15 minutes.

On Gautam’s reported statement about not making sons/daughters of promoters of family-owned businesses automatic successors, Singhania said he had followed “convention,” and he doesn’t know what he would have done if he were to follow Gautam’s “advice.”

The 80-year-old also sought to allay his son’s fears about his upcoming autobiography, The Incomplete Man. Speaking to the Times of India, Gautam had said, “My father is writing a book, and I’m sure it will be against me and more than 95% of this will be his imagination.”

“I assure you, I haven’t exposed him” said Singhania. The book, he said, would be about his journey in life. “It is about my childhood, my parents, my family, my growing up, my education, my business experience, how things happened in my life, how I lost some very near and dear people and how it affected me. How I tried to inculcate values in my children… some of them took some value, some did not. That’s the truth, that’s my life. Somebody doesn’t like it, it’s fine,” he said. Gautam had filed a suit in Otober last year against the publication of the book, but the court refused to grant him interim relief.

In an interview to Mumbai Mirror in 2017, Singhania, citing his “mistreatment”, had appealed to parents to not to give away their wealth to their children in their lifetimes. Singhania said that a lot of parents had decided otherwise after reading the interview. “I know of several people who called me and said they were giving away everything to their kids but have cancelled it and made it a part of their will instead . A billionaire friend of mine has done it. I am sharing my experience, I am not saying anything wrong.”

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