Mumbai: Retired tycoon Vijaypat Singhania, who has been entangled in a property dispute with his son Gautam Singhania, has a message for parents across the country: "Love your children and care for them, but don't love them so much that you are blinded".
- He is entangled in a property dispute with son Gautam Singhania
- Is known for making fabric brand Raymonds a household name
- Says parents should not love children so much that they are blinded
The man known not only for making Raymond a household name across the country, but also for love for aviation, speaks from experience. In 2015, Mr Singhania had handed over his shares, worth over Rs 1,000 crore, to his son Gautam Singhania, who now runs the 6,000-crore group. Two years down the line, the septuagenarian feels that he has been given a raw deal.
"In the 79 years of my life, I'd never thought I would have to take a family dispute to court after giving away everything I had and that I wouldn't even have a roof over my head," Mr Singhania told NDTV.
At the core of the dispute between the father and son is rights over JK House, a family-owned 36- storey redeveloped property in the posh Malabar Hill area of south Mumbai.
Mr Singhania says his son had kept the house to himself. He had used the voluntary surrender of his father's tenancy to get extra floor space from the municipality. Being "friendly with the municipality" no action has been initiated against him, the 79-year-old said.
Mr Singhania is currently living in a rented accommodation - he is demanding to reimburse him for the rent, which is Rs 7 lakh a month.
"I had never dreamt that I'd have to take my son to court for the fulfilment of the promises that he had made to me in writing and then decided to back out because of his greed," he said.
The Bombay High Court, which heard the matter last week, has asked both sides to work towards a reconciliation. Justice GS Kulkarni said such matters "should not have reached the courts in the first place".
Gautam Singhania, 51, says he is open to a reconciliation. But there is a rider.
His father, the Raymond chairman said, was being misled by "vested interests". "I'm very clear that if there is tone a settlement, then people who have vested interests should be kept out," he said.
The Raymond chairman said wearing two hats - that of a son and the leader of company - sometimes leads to "conflict of interests". "I then have to stand by my beliefs and do what I feel is right," he said.
"I will, with all my might not let the dispute touch Raymond's credibility and I will always uphold the values of the brand. As far as my father is concerned, I will do whatever it takes that is in my power to resolve the issue," he told NDTV.
"My father and me have shared the best relationship any father-son could have and some opportunists have grabbed upon every opportunity to create a wedge between us. At the end of the day, he is my father and he's old. I would want that at this age, he ought to lead and enjoy a comfortable life doing whatever he feels like and let his son earn the money," Mr Singhania said.
Asked if his relationship with his son could go back to normal, Vijaypat Singhania said, "You're asking me to gamble on a quest that I don't feel happy about. But looking at his current behaviour, arrogance and dishonesty, I don't think it can go back to normal."