The man who inherited Priyamvada Birla's assets (valued at Rs 5,000 crore) is no more. Chartered accountant and industry leader Rajendra S Lodha died of heart attack in London on Friday. He was the chairman of MP Birla Group of companies, whiuch included Birla Corporation, Universal Cables, Birla Ericsson Optical, Vindhya Telelinks and Hindustan Gum and Chemicals.

RS Lodha, 66, a former chairman of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, a board member of State Bank of India, and a former director of Reserve Bank of India, came into limelight when he claimed rights to the Rs 5,000-crore worth property of MP Birla Group after the death of Priyamvada (MP's wife) in July 2004.

Lodha claimed Priyamvada had left a will bequeathing all her properties (which included cement to jute to cable businesses) to Lodha and his son Harsh Vardhan in 1999. He took control of these businesses.

The events took an ugly turn when the Birla clan opposed the move by Lodha, and several cases are pending in the court.

Interestingly, Lodha died on his way to see the Birla family elder BK Birla who was in his London flat. BK Birla has been quoted as saying by Mint: "(Lodha is a) good, nice, intelligent and hardworking man. The (pending) court cases are not important anymore."

It remains to be seen if the Birlas will fight the battle as vigorously as it did earlier. The MP Birla Group companies will be run by Lodha's son Harsh unless the court orders in reverse. 

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