A prominent British-Asian businessman is being sued by his 86 year-old father in a row over the rights to the family fortune. Bal Mohinder Singh is taking his case against his eldest son Jasminder Singh, head of the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels Group to the High Court, alleging that his son excluded him from the business and abandoned the Sikh tradition of sharing family wealth.
Mr Singh Jnr is accused of failing to abide by the “Mitakshara” system, derived from Sikh and Hindu culture, which implies a sharing of family wealth. Although the system is not recognised under English law, Mr Singh Snr argues that all family members involved in the business chose to work under it and therefore joined a “common intention constructive trust”.
Mr Singh Snr, who started the business, which is now worth an estimated £800 million with his son, stated that:
“As the head of the family I have to be respected and the fact that I was forced to retire by Jasminder was very, very painful for me…I was devastated with being forced out and since then my health has failed. My wife is unwell too. When I travel to the High Court I will be in an ambulance and it will be very difficult and stressful to give evidence against Jasminder.”
Mr Singh Jnr, has declined to comment on the case, but contested his father’s claims in earlier submissions and stated that he did not have a particularly religious upbringing. He also claims that neither of his parents regarded the family to be living under an agreement to share property and that it was he who played the leading part in building up the family business.
If Mr Singh Snr is successful in his action, the grandfather of seven, who still lives with his son, could secure around a £50 million share of the business.