News East West
LONDON: A court drama involving one of Britain’s richest Sikh families is set to unfold here on Tuesday when a father and his son take opposite sides in the impending legal battle.
The impending legal battle involves Bal Mohinder Singh, 86, and his son Jasminder Singh, 62, over their Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels empire worth £800million.
Bal Mohinder Singh, who came to Britain from Kenya 40 years to first run a post office in North London and later move into the hotel business, says that his son Jasminder Singh – who heads the hotel empire now – forced him to retire three years ago.
The elderly father alleges that this son is also refusing to share family wealth as per traditional `Mitakshar system’ followed by Sikhs and Hindus.
Bal Mohinder Singh says that he brought up his son to follow Sikh traditions of sharing, but he (the son) is now threatening to throw him and his wife (Jasminder’s mother) out of the home they all share in Berkshire.
“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. 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,’’ the elderly father was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.
“I still love him (Jasminder). I always will. I will not hear anybody say a bad word against him … He has worked hard too. But as I said, this is about respect and carrying on the traditions in which I have brought Jasminder up,’’ Bal Mohinder Singh added.
But Jasminder Singh says that there is no family agreement on sharing the property. He also disputes that he had any religious upbringing that should force him to follow the traditional `Mitakshar system’ to share his property with others.
Further, Jasminder Singh claims that it was he who played the leading role in building up the family’s hotel business.
Among the hotels owned by the family are the May Fair, the Vanderbilt and the Savoy Court in London.