Bal Mohinder Singh loses legal battle with son over £800million hotel empire

LONDON: A court battle in which one of Britain’s richest Sikh men was pitted against his father has ended in defeat for the father.

Bal Mohinder Singh, 87, had taken his son Jasminder Singh, 63, to court, claiming that he is entitled to one-third of 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, argued that his son Jasminder Singh – who heads the hotel empire now – forced him to retire in 2010. He petitioned the court that his son was not following the traditional `Mitakshar system’ of Sikhs and Hindus to share family wealth.

Since the `Mitakshar system’ is a matter of trust, Judge Sir William Blackburne dismissed the father’s claim on Tuesday.

The judge said, “Though I have rejected father’s claim, it by no means follows that I regard him or mother as having in any way acted dishonestly in making it . On the contrary , they struck me as having advanced this claim in all good faith believing it to be well founded.’’

The judge added, “The root of the difference between them was in their upbringings with the father being raised in rural British India and the mother in Kenya. But Jasminder completing his education in the UK and taking “little interest in the religious side of Sikhism.’

The father claimed that he built their business empire with his son and he brought him up to follow Sikh traditions.

But the son said his father had little role in building their business empire and disputed that he had any religious upbringing that should force him to follow the traditional `Mitakshar system’ to share his property with others.

Among the hotels owned by the family are the May Fair, the Vanderbilt and the Savoy Court in London.

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