According to sources in the know, Nawaz Modi Singhania, 53, the estranged wife of billionaire entrepreneur Gautam Singhania, has requested 75% of his approximately $1.4 billion net worth for her two daughters Niharika and Nisa, as part of a family settlement following the couple's separation.
While Singhania is thought to have agreed to the proposal in general, he has proposed establishing a family trust and transferring the family's wealth and assets to it, with him as the sole managing trustee. The assets will be left to his family members following his death, according to the sources named above. Nawaz is said to find this intolerable.
According to those knowledgeable with trust legislation, a trust has three major parties: a settler who puts money into the trust, a trustee who functions as an administrator, and a beneficiary. One of the three must be unique. "A trust is based on a relationship first and law second." A trustee might also be a settler. However, not all three. That would contradict the objective," remarked an unnamed Mumbai-based tax consultant. "These come under contract law provisions."
Within the group, there are already various trusts, such as JK Trusts and Smt Sunitidevi Singhania Hospital Trust, which owns 1.04% of Raymond Ltd. Its Chairman and Managing Trustee is Gautam Singhania, and its trustee is Nawaz Singhania.
Haigreve Khaitan, senior partner at Khaitan & Co, has been selected as Gautam Singhania's legal advisor, while Nawaz is said to have hired Mumbai-based law firm Rashmi Kant. According to family friends of the Singhanias, Akshay Chudasama, Managing Partner of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co., who is close to both sides, has been attempting to mediate between the couple in order to reach an agreement on a possible reconciliation or a mutually acceptable scenario.
"There has been no further progress on what is seen as an initial stand." "Family matters are unpredictable, especially when there are couple estrangements and both sides are concerned about the welfare of their children," an official who requested anonymity said. Gautam Singhania did not respond to a request for comment via email. Messages submitted to Nawaz Singhania did not receive a response as of press time on Sunday.
The conversations, which have been going on for a few weeks, are still in their early stages. As of yet, no decision has been made.
"It's an extremely fluid situation, and both sides are adamant about their respective positions," a source familiar with the situation said. "After both sides' initial stand, things could go in a completely different direction or take an unexpected turn." It is too early to discuss wealth distribution at this time. Nawaz and Gautam are both concerned about their daughters' future. That is the priority. "No one can predict the outcome of such family feuds," the insider stated.
After 32 years of marriage, billionaire industrialist Gautam Singhania announced his divorce from his wife, Nawaz Modi Singhania, on X (previously Twitter) last Monday. Raymond's chairman and managing director didn't go into much detail about the reason for the split, but he did say that "as I reflect on the unfortunate developments in the recent past, there has been a lot of unsubstantiated rumor mongering and gossip surrounding our lives fanned by "not so well-wishers." Nawaz and I, I believe, shall take distinct courses from now on..."
Nawaz Singhania, one of the first aerobics and wellness gurus in South Mumbai, is also on the board of directors of Raymond Ltd, a listed flagship firm with a market value of 11,875.42 crore as of Friday. According to BSE records, the company generated a yearly consolidated income of 8214.7 crores and profit after tax (PAT) of 536.9 crores in FY23
According to BSE statistics, Nawaz Singhania holds only 2500 shares of Raymond in her capacity, whereas Gautam Hari Singhania owns only 29 shares. Nawaz is on the boards of 11 firms, including the unlisted Raymond Consumer Care and JK Investors Bombay Ltd.