UK Sikh hotelier to be sued by father over family fortune

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 18, 2013 13:33 hrs

London: A prominent British Sikh hotelier is being sued by his 86-year-old father for abandoning the Sikh tradition of sharing family wealth and excluding him from the 415 million pounds business.

Bal Mohinder Singh is suing his eldest son, Jasminder Singh, head of Britain's successful Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels group, claiming that in 2010, his son forced him to retire and has failed to share the family wealth with him.

The case will come up in the High Court in London from tomorrow. The 86-year-old was born in Punjab and then moved to east Africa before coming to Britain in 1973.

He ran a post office in north London, where his son, now 62, would help out.

The pair moved into the hotel business and their firm gradually bought about a dozen hotels, including the Vanderbilt and the Savoy Court in central London, with the May Fair, in Mayfair, as the flagship.

The hotel group is now worth an estimated 415 million pounds.

According to the 'Daily Telegraph', Singh had put Jasminder in charge because he had better English and an accountancy qualification.

"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," he told the newspaper.

"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 have to give evidence against Jasminder," he added.

The father and son still share a seven-bedroom home in Berkshire but the senior Singh claims he spends most of his time in his room.

In earlier submissions to the court, he accused his son of trying to force him and his wife, Satwant Kaur Singh, out of the property.

He is accusing his son of failing to abide by the "Mitakshara" system, from the Sikh and Hindu traditions, which implies a sharing of family wealth.

Although the system is not part of English law, his lawyers will argue that all family members chose to work under it and had therefore joined a "common intention constructive trust".

Jasminder Singh, known as a media shy Indian-origin tycoon in the UK, has declined to comment on the case but in earlier submissions has contested his father's claims.

He has said he did not have a particularly religious upbringing and that neither of his parents regarded the family to be living under an agreement to share property.

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