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THE Rahul Bajaj and Shishir Bajaj groups are exploring the possibility of an out-of-court settlement for their four-year-old family dispute including the fight over the directorships and control of Bajaj Sevashram and Jamnalal Sons—two key companies that hold shares in other group companies.

The lawyers of the two feuding brothers requested the principal bench of the Company Law Board to give a day’s time to explore a settlement. CLB chairman S Balasubramanian accepted the request and adjourned the proceedings. The parties are expected to inform the court about the status when it is listed for hearing.

When contacted, Rahul Bajaj’s cousin Neeraj Bajaj said: “It is inappropriate for me to comment. This is work-in-progress. Hopefully, something soon will emerge. After three days of hearing, we will know which way it will go.” A spokesperson for the Shishir Bajaj camp declined to comment stating that the matter was sub-judice. The case, which is now in the final argument stage, is listed for three days of continuous hearing till August 31.

The Shishir Bajaj-Rahul Bajaj feud erupted over four years ago and in March 2003, the former approached the CLB alleging that there was a move by the Rahul Bajaj camp to oust him from the chairmanship of Bajaj Sevashram, a key holding company. At that time, lawyers representing the Rahul Bajaj camp told the CLB that status quo would be maintained. Following the CLB’s advice that the dispute be sorted out amicable and peacefully, several attempts at an out-of-court settlement were made with the help of mediators.

Despite reports of near breakthroughs and imminent settlements, the two groups have so far failed to reach a settlement. The battle got escalated this year when the Shishir Bajaj camp moved the CLB for a stay on the induction of Rahul Bajaj’s son Sanjiv and cousin Neeraj in the boards of Bajaj Sevashram and Jamnalal Sons. Admitting the application by the Shishir Bajaj group, the principal bench of the CLB stayed all board meetings of the two holding companies Bajaj Sevashram and Jamnalal Sons.

Directorship and control of the two companies would play a major role in the fight over control of the Bajaj empire as these two firms hold shares in Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Electricals, the sugar company, Bajaj Hindusthan, (BHL) and Mukand. In addition, Jamnalal Sons, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bajaj Sevashram, holds a 78% stake in Bachhraj & Co Pvt Ltd (BCOPL), the company through which the Bajaj family holds a 24.54% stake in BHL, which is run by Shishir Bajaj and his son Kushagra.

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