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Shardul Shroff, the Delhibased managing partner of law firm Amarchand Mangaldas, has denied influencing his late mother Bharti Shroff to will her stake in the firm and other assets to him at the expense of younger brother Cyril. In an exclusive interaction with ET, his first since the dispute came into the public domain, the elder Shroff also claimed he had offered a 50 per cent stake in the law firm to Cyril.

“I think this is the most preposterous suggestion that they have put out (referring to claims by Cyril Shroff ‘s lawyers that the will was influenced by him). Please don’t forget that my mother had been a lawyer since 1955. She had been extremely independent, a highly acclaimed lawyer and had tremendous experience in law and writing of wills. She herself would have written at least 50 wills on her own for her clients and friends…the question of influencing her doesn’t arise at all. She was the co-founder of the firm. In our partnership deed, there is a very special right which is given to her because of her contribution to the firm,” said Shardul.

He claimed that on September 20, he had written to his brother Cyril offering a 50 per cent stake in the main partnership firm as well as an entity which owns properties in Delhi.

“I wrote to him on September 20. I wrote to him a detailed letter offering him 50 per cent in Amarchand Mangaldas, offering him 50 per cent in Amarchand Mangaldas Hiralal Shroff & Co and in ATP. The first time we spoke was on September 19. Despite my mother’s will, I made a written offer,” ShardulShroff claimed.

Shroff claimed that a resolution passed by the law firm’s management committee on November 10 had forced him to approach the Bombay High Court. The majority of the management committee (five out of seven) had voted on that day to equally distribute Bharti’s equity stake between the two brothers. The resolution was circulated by email. Commenting on this, Shardul said the actions of the management committee were unauthorised as it has no right to alter provisions of a will.

Further, as the executor of the will he had to move court. “So, because of the precipitated action that they took on October 16 and November 10, it (discussions to resolve the matter) came to an abrupt halt because they cancelled my mother’s property and issued shares to themselves. So you can’t have a mediation and the intermeddling in the legal sense at the same time. You can’t cancel a dead person’s property, and so the process which was moving along the line with the help of a facilitator came to an end.”

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