Adispute involving the Bajaj family, promoters of Bajaj Auto Ltd, over the division of group companies and assets between the two Bajaj brothers, comes up before an arbitrator again on Thursday, after both sides sought 24 hours to try and hammer out a resolution, the third such attempt to reach an amicable settlement.
Lawyers for the warring Bajaj brothers will tell the Company Law Board (CLB), where the dispute has been lodged for four years, if they have been able to figure a way out of the impasse. The case is being heard by CLB chairman S. Balasubramanian.
The Bajaj dispute (Graphic)
Till Wednesday night, it was unclear to Mint if there had been any breakthrough. Rahul Bajaj refused to comment for this story. Beena Gupta, a legal advocate representing Shishir Bajaj, said: “We had been prepared for the hearing. The other side wants a settlement.”
Two previous attempts, in 2003 and 2005, have failed to break the deadlock, which involves a division of assets between family groups led by Rahul Bajaj and his brother Shishir Bajaj.
In June 2003, Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto, and his associates agreed to sell their stake in Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd and Bajaj Consumer Care Ltd to his brother Shishir Bajaj at a fixed price.
In turn, Shishir Bajaj agreed to sell his stake in Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Electricals Ltd, Mukand Ltd and other Bajaj group companies to Rahul Bajaj and associates, also at a fixed price. But the agreement was never implemented because of yet undisclosed issues.
The latest controversy started when Rahul Bajaj and his cousins—Madhur, Niraj and Shekhar—sought to induct Sanjiv Bajaj, Rahul Bajaj’s younger son, and Niraj to the board of Bajaj Sevashram Pvt. Ltd, an investment company that has shares in most of the group companies, including the sugar entity, which is managed by Shishir Bajaj and his son Kushagra Bajaj. Shishir Bajaj interpreted that attempt as an indirect takeover move and petitioned CLB.
In April, CLB directed Bajaj Sevashram and Jamnalal Sons Pvt. Ltd not to hold any board meeting until the petition is disposed of.