Indian billionaire cautions about betrothing fortune to offspring

NEVER ever give away your entire fortune to your offspring while one is still alive. This was the clear warning given by the founder of India’s Raymond Group – Vijaypat Singhania.

In an emotional video interview, the former billionaire lamented his “stupidity” at bequeathing his mammoth textile empire to his son Gautam Singhania.

The elder Singhania claims that his son had since “evicted” him and left him with nothing, saying that it was lucky he still had some money otherwise he would be destitute. He asserts that his son was overcome by ego and had backed out of an agreement to give some parts of the company to him.

In an exclusive interview with Business Today, the former textile magnate said, “I have no business. He (Gautam) had agreed to give me some parts of the company but of course, he backed out. So, I have nothing. I gave him everything. By mistake, I was left with some money on which I am surviving today. Otherwise, I would have been on the road.”

The 85-year-old founded the Raymond Group along with his father L K Singhania in 1944. The company started out as just a small clothing mill but grew to become the world’s largest suit garment manufacturer today.

According to the Hindustan Times, the senior Singhania was torn between splitting the company between his two sons Madhupati Singhania and Gautam Singhania. However, Madhupati relinquished his assets and his shares in Raymond due to infighting in the family and severed all ties with the Singhanias.

Eventually, Vijaypat transferred 37% of Raymond Group to his son Gautam. His grandchildren tried to fight these transfers in court but lost the case. Vijaypat handed over his business to his son in 2015. Soon, Gautam drove Vijaypat out of his JK House building in South Mumbai in 2017 and left the father homeless.

Now, another family feud has erupted in the family as Gautam Singhania and estranged wife Nawaz Modi are in the middle of a messy divorce settlement. The latter demanded the billionaire to give her and her daughters 75% of his net worth.

Asked if he would speak to his son regarding the divorce proceedings, Vijaypat conceded it would be futile as the son would not listen to his advice and would be abusive when told things he did not like. He said it was pointless trying to reason with someone who had thrown both his father and wife out.

The moral of the story are two-fold – firstly, as the heartbroken Vijaypat Singh counsels, do not give away one’s entire fortune to future generations while still alive. Secondly, money is no guarantee of happiness for it is capable of breaking up family ties. – Jan 15, 2024

Main pic credit: Business Today, India

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