Widow Leaves $1.1 Billion to Her Accountant

In a move that stunned her surviving family members, one of India’s richest women left her entire estate to her accountant, who was also in the possession of the will at the time of her death last week, the British Broadcasting Company reported.

Click Here

The Birla family presides over one of India’s richest corporate empires, thought to be worth in total around $8.8 billion. Priyamvada Birla, the widow of a cousin of family patriarch BK Birla, left company assets worth about 50bn rupees (or $1.1 billion) to accountant Rajendra Lodha.

BK Birla and his family told the BBC they are in perfect harmony on the need to challenge the bequest to a "complete outsider."

Lodha may be a family outsider but he’s no stranger to the inner workings of the Birla empire, having won several court battles on behalf of the Birlas. He reportedly has a significant understanding of the company’s inner workings.

Priyamvada Birla's husband, Madhav Prasad Birla, died in 1990 and the couple had no children. She ran the MP Birla group of companies after his death, until her own death last week at the age of 76, the BBC reported.

Lodha, who opened the will on Monday, was not available for comment. He is a leading chartered accountant whose firm audits most of the Birla companies. It is unusual for the beneficiary to be in possession of the will and family members were described as "astonished" when Lodha opened the will at the Birla’s family home in Calcutta, known as Birla Park.

The will names Lodha as the inheritor of the entire assets and management control of MP Birla.

BK Birla said: "The family members have examined the will and the consensus is that we have the moral and legal right to challenge the validity of the will."

The Birlas have hired two Calcutta-based solicitor's firms, Khaitan & Co and NG Khaitan & Co, to draw up legal action. Sources at Khaitan & Co say a legal notice is likely to be served in a day or two to stop Lodha from executing the will, the BBC reported.

By inheriting MP Birla, Lodha also gets a 25 percent interest in Pilani Investments, which has a shareholding in many Birla companies. That fact has the Birlas worried.

"If Lodha is not challenged, he will get to interfere all across the Birla empire, by virtue of his stake in Pilani," business analyst Tamal Majumder told the BBC.

You may like these other stories...

By Deanna C. White Millennials may be incredibly savvy when it comes to using technology to research nearly every decision they make, but when it comes to determining their financial habits, a new survey suggests they...
By Deanna C. White A survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) indicates that many American parents are still reluctant to engage their children in significant conversations about money, with only 13 percent of...
By Jason Bramwell The percentage of higher education leaders who  are "very concerned" about their ability to maintain current enrollment levels is on the rise, according to the second annual Higher...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Nov 5Join CPA thought leader and peer reviewer Rob Cameron and learn ways to improve the outcome of your peer reviews while maximizing the value of your engagement workflow.
Nov 18In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA tackles what to do when bad things happen to good spreadsheets.
Nov 19How do you minimize redundant work and unnecessary steps to maximize the amount of work moving through your firm?
Nov 20Kristen Rampe will share how to uncover new opportunities with your clients by asking powerful questions.