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Estranged son revealed as sole heir to Indian property developer

By Jessica Tasman-Jones

An estranged son who was due to face off against his father in an Indian court next month over the ownership of the multi-billion dollar family business has now been revealed as the sole heir to the business in his father’s will.

In a civil lawsuit that had been ongoing since 2012, Sandeep Raheja was accused by his father, Gopal, of trying to take control of the real estate developer business GL Raheja Group.

Gopal had been at the helm of the Rs. 11,000 crore (€1.3 billion) business at his death in March, aged 80. He had inherited it from his father, who founded K Raheja Group in the 1950s, and then split its companies between his three sons.

The most recent version of Gopal’s will was dated 2007.

According to court documents, Gopul rearranged shareholdings in 2006 due to fears his two son-in-laws were seeking control of the company. The Economic Times reports Gopal retained 42% of the holding company and continued as group chairman, giving the remaining 58% to Raheja.

However, according to court documents filed by Gopal, father-son relations broke down when Raheja wrote to him in 2012 claiming full ownership of the company, and a series of acrimonious letters were exchanged. Raheja also appointed his parents-in-law to the board.

Due to the date of the will and the pair’s poor relationship at the time of his passing, it is possible other family members could contest the will. In addition to his son, Gopal is survived by two daughters and his brothers.

Raheja has not yet spoken publicly about the matter.

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