LALIT Modi has been based in London ever since he fled the country over accusations of wrongdoing and financial irregularities. The founder of the Indian Premier League (IPL), who became a high-flying celebrity, is now a fugitive, and the latest case involving a property dispute among the family members of KK Modi, the late industrialist, and Lalit Modi’s father, brings him back into the limelight.
On December 16, the Supreme Court appointed two retired top court judges as mediators between Lalit Modi and his mother Bina Modi, the wife of KK Modi, to resolve a long pending property dispute in the family. Former apex court judges Justices Vikramjit Sen and Kurian Joseph were appointed as mediators.
Earlier, on December 6, the Supreme Court had suggested that the best way to solve the on-going family property dispute, mainly between Lalit Modi and Bina Modi, was through mediation in India. The three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, heard a petition filed by Lalit Modi against the judgment of a division bench of the Delhi High Court which had held that the anti-arbitration injunction lawsuit filed by Bina Modi against her son Lalit was maintainable. Bina Modi, Lalit’s sister Charu and brother Samir had filed a suit seeking to restrain the arbitration proceedings initiated by Lalit Modi in Singapore over property disputes in the family.
The apex court was of the view that it was a family dispute over property and money and suggested mediation or arbitration in India to resolve the case. Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Lalit Modi, submitted that the matter involves a legal question of construction of Section 5 of the Arbitration Act. A suit cannot be brought in to stop an arbitration, and a suit if filed, is barred by Section 5. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of Lalit Modi’s mother and siblings, asserted that they don’t have any problem with mediation and had suggested it earlier before the High Court.
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