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SC directs Bombay HC to expedite decision on dispute between Chhabrias

The Supreme Court has asked the Bombay High Court to expedite the hearing in the Finolex Group case, where a criminal petition was filed before the lower court, and to complete it within six weeks’ time.

“In our considered opinion, interest of justice would be served by requesting the High Court to decide the writ petition no 1312 of 2021 and other connected matters expeditiously, preferably within a period of six weeks from the date of production of certified copy of this order positively without granting any unnecessary adjournments to either of the parties,” the Supreme Court said in its order earlier this month.

The issue dates back to 2016, when a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against Orbit Electricals’ director Prakash Chhabria and other directors by his cousin and MD of Finolex Cables Deepak Chhabria.

In the FIR filed in Pune’s Chaturshringi police station, Deepak Chhabria had alleged that 70.4% of Orbit Electricals (the holding company of the Finolex Group) was transferred “illegally” to Prakash Chhabria in 2016. Deepak Chhabria had accused his cousin of getting these shares transferred through a board meeting on March 31, 2016.

According to the FIR, the board meeting – when group founder Pralhad Chhabria had allegedly transferred the controlling stake to his son Prakash Chhabria through a gift deed – which did not take place. According to filings by Prakash Chhabria before the High Court, the deed was completely compliant with the laws of the land. He had also denied any “wrong doings” before the court.

The case was later shifted to the Bombay High Court, and later in 2021, with the High Court yet to pronounce an order, Deepak Chhabria moved the Supreme Court seeking immediate ruling in the case.

In 2018, Deepak Chhabria also filed an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Mumbai, seeking to impound the gift deed.

Brothers Pralhad Chhabria and Kishandas Chhabria emigrated from Karachi to Pune in 1945 and had set up an electrical cables shop, and later diversified into other ventures. Pralhad P Chhabria, founder chairman of the Finolex Group, passed away in 2016, while Kishandas Chhabria is not actively involved in the business. Orbit spokesman said the Supreme Court vide its ex parte order dated 31.01.2023 has requested the High Court to decide petitions filed by Prakash Chhabria and other parties. There is no order/ direction for resolution of dispute. Further the SLP by Mr Deepak Chhabria was filed after an inordinate delay of 2 years without giving sufficient reasons. Since the matter is sub judice, at this stage it will be sufficient to mention that the Order obtained from the Supreme Court by Deepak Chhabria is by suppressing material documents including orders passed by the High Court.In any event, these facts will be brought to the notice of the High Court and the Petitions filed will be argued as and when the occasion arises. Financial Express

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