The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Chennai, on Wednesday accepted a claim filed by Valli Arunachalam, 59, the eldest daughter of former Murugappa Group executive chairman MV Murugappan and her family asking for the lifting of the ’10 percent minimum share ownership requirement to maintain the alleged case of oppression and mismanagement against Ambadi Investments Limited (AIL), the flagship company of the ₹ 38,000 crore group, and members of its family. He gave respondents three weeks to respond and published the case by April 23.
Senior lawyer PS Raman, appearing for Valli Arunachalam, said her family owns 8.21% of AIL and is below 1.79% for the minimum of 10% in accordance with section 241 of the Law of 2013 on companies. Law Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi, giving certain firms of Cyrus Mistry a waiver of the minimum requirement to maintain a case against Tata Sons.
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Incidentally, none of the family members hold more than 10 percent of the total shareholding, but all identifiable branches of the family hold a position on the board of directors and actively participate in the affairs of AIL, except of the applicant’s family.
Raman pointed out that the Valli Arunachalam family’s plea for equal representation in the affairs of the company has been rejected since his father’s disappearance a few years ago. “The Murugappa family has a history of gender discrimination because Murugappan was the only male member of the family who did not have a male legal heir,” he said. The right to legal representation was not there because she was not qualified, family members said, ”according to Raman. However, Arunachalam has a doctorate in nuclear physics and a technology consultant in the United States, he added.
The main petition also seeks a fair buyback of their stake in accordance with section 242 (2b) of the 2013 Companies Act, Raman added.
The claimants stated that even for the alternative, there was a refusal to provide a fair value outflow from the AIL. Many of the petitioners ‘requests were confronted with the respondents’ non-cooperation, delaying tactics and “misguided” intentions, they alleged.