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Breaking: Fox v Little - Bombay HC calls quits on mediation, revives Noida cases, arbit

Bombay HC, not pleased about lawyers fighting
Bombay HC, not pleased about lawyers fighting
Exclusive: The Bombay High Court today ended the mediation between Fox Mandal & Co Delhi and Little & Co, which also lifted the court’s earlier stay order, opening the way for continuing Som Mandal’s criminal complaint in Noida against three Little partners and the pre-existing arbitration between the firms to de-merge.

The Bombay High Court had on 26 October ordered the parties to mediate their dispute under senior counsel Iqbal Chagla, and on 8 November stayed all other proceedings. [download court order]

Fox Mandal Delhi managing partner Som Mandal told Legally India via email: “Little's petiton in Mumbai dismissed. Matter in Noida both civil and criminal to proceed now.”

Little & Co managing partner Ajay Khatlawala commented that Little had never applied for a stay, which was granted by the Bombay High Court because of the ongoing mediation.

He added: “The mediation was there - which was by consent - since they (Fox) withdrew from the mediation, the question of stay does not arise. All proceedings will go on now, including arbitration.”

According to a source close to the case, the bench had chastised the parties as lawyers for their public legal battle and had therefore suggested mediation.

Mandal’s criminal complaint

The dismissal of the proceedings will revive Mandal’s Delhi’s criminal complaint dated 15 November 2011 against Little & Co partners Khatlawala, Farook Sidwha and Jayendra Kapadia.

In the 14-page complaint filed under sections 120(B), 406, 409 and 420 of the IPC, Mandal alleges: “The complainant submits that the accused are deliberately withholding nearly 6 crores profit of the Complainant and his partners which under the partnership deed they ought to have distributed to the Complainant.”

The criminal complaint, a copy of which is with Legally India, also alleges that all accused persons had “dishonest intentions from the very beginning” and that one of the Little partners acted “with criminal intention and in a clandestine manner made it sure to act against the principles of the Memorandum of Understanding”.

Evidence cited in the complaintx is a purported transcript of a recorded telephone conversation between Mandal and one Little & Co partner, which states that another Little & Co partner did not want to pay Mandal “a penny” of the profits Fox Mandal were due from Mumbai.

Kathlawala said that process in the criminal case had not yet been served on him and the other accused, so he was unable to comment about the substance of the allegations. But he added that in Little & Co’s earlier replies filed in the Noida civil case and in the Bombay High Court, they had denied the allegations and stated that all amounts due to Som Mandal and Fox had been paid.

The arbitration between the firms about their 2006 merger and memorandum of understanding, is now also set to continue.

Buy tomorrow’s copy of business daily Mint for a feature giving the definitive investigation into the dispute’s history.

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