Real estate tycoon Gopal Raheja leaves entire $1.8 billion fortune to estranged son whom he fought in court

Will likely to be contested by his brothers.

By The American Bazaar Staff

NEW DELHI: Real estate tycoon Gopal Raheja has left the entire sum of his estate to the very same estranged son, Sandeep Raheja, that he was fighting in court at the time of his death, for attempting to take control of that estate.

According to reports, Gopal Raheja’s will has left his entire Rs. 11,000 crore (approximately $1.8 billion) estate to Sandeep. Gopal was 80 when he passed away in March. Father and son were locked in a contentious litigation battle that began in 2012, when Gopal accused Sandeep of trying to usurp control of the real estate empire’s 25 businesses.

Although there were talks from Gopal’s side of reaching an out-of-court settlement and ending the matter privately, nothing ultimately was done, and the courts continued to hear arguments from both sides in the civil suit. In fact, another hearing was scheduled for May of this year, and would have gone ahead if Gopal had not passed away.

Now, it seems, the empire was Sandeep’s to inherit all along, as he and his wife Durga will become the new owners of a staggering family business. The GL Raheja Group, of which Gopal was at the helm, has been one of India’s most active real estate developers since the 1960s.

Gopal’s father, Lachmandas, founded the K Raheja Group in the 1950s, which was subsequently split among his sons: Gopal Raheja’s K Raheja Constructions, Chandru Raheja’s K Raheja Corp. and Suresh Raheja’s K Raheja Universal. K Raheja operates some of the most successful hospitality properties in India, including the JW Marriot Hotel in Mumbai.

Reports indicate that Gopal’s brothers may contest the will, a common practice especially when considering the amount of money that stands to be gained. Because of the fact that relations were not great between Gopal and his son at the time of the former’s passing, Gopal’s brothers could claim that they were really the intended recipients of the inheritance.

Complicating matters is that the most recent will was drafted in 2007, seven years before Gopal’s passing. This could also be used as evidence that the will was written well before relations between father and son soured, and that the will was simply never updated to reflect Gopal’s intentions at the time of his death.

Sandeep Raheja has not yet spoken publically about the matter, nor have Gopal’s brothers.

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