Murugappa scion Valli Arunachalam and her mother, MV Valli Murugappan , filed a waiver application at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) earlier today. The application names the Murugappa Group’s holding company, Ambadi Investments Limited (AIL), and nine members of the Murugappa family as its respondents.
It also lists the Murugappa Group’s publicly listed entities: Carborundum Universal Limited, Coromandel International Limited, Tube Investments of India and Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company as respondents.
The waiver is being filed in connection to the succession battle at the Murugappa Group, where Valli Arunachalam, the great-granddaughter of the Murugappa Group’s founder, A M Murugappa Chettiar, is seeking to take seven other branches of the Murugappa family to court. Her case: non-admission to the board of AIL, on account of what she claims is the family’s inherent gender bias.
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At present, only male members are allowed a seat on the AIL board. Valli’s father, the Late MV Murugappan left no male heirs on his passing.
Valli and her mother, MV Valli Murugappan, presently hold 8.21 percent of equity in AIL, which is less than 10 percent of the total paid-up capital of the company, which requires that a waiver be filed.
Valli’s application reads: “As per news reports, on January 18, 2021, the entire arrangement and manner of holding companies (Respondents 11-14) have been overhauled without consent and information to the applicants.”
Another key argument of Valli’s in the succession battle — that the AIL board neither allowed her a seat nor agreed to buy out her shares at a fair price, has also made it to her application. The waiver application states: “Respondents are colluding to suppress the share value of AIL and dilute its control.”
CNBC-TV18 has learnt that the Murugappa family's response to Valli's constant claims of gender bias was that she isn't qualified enough to have a seat at the boardroom, since she "does not know much about running the family business." When Valli's counsel pointed out that she was a nuclear scientist, and that the Murugappa family is infamous for its gender bias, the respondents' counsel retorted with laughter.
The NCLT has ordered that the respondents listed in Valli’s application take time to respond to the waiver application. The matter has been adjourned to April 23.
First Published: IST