it doesn't promise to be a box-office hit, but it will be the
first play of its kind-anywhere in the world. On September 9,
Pravin Anand, Managing Partner at law firm Anand &
Anand, is organising a play (called Brainchild) at Delhi's Shriram
Centre on intellectual property (IP). The play is written by London-based
scriptwriter Farukh Dhondy, who also wrote the script for Aamir
Khan-starrer The Rising, and cast by Bollywood actor, Yashpal
Sharma. "I am trying to create subliminal awareness of IP.
I want people to be passionate about it," says the 50-year-old
Anand with a straight face. It's easy to explain Anand's passion
for IP. The law firm was set up by his grandfather in 1923, and
Anand is the third generation in a family of IP lawyers. The play
apart, Anand has been organising, for the last eight years now,
a moot court (that is, a mock court) for law students to hone
their argumentative skills in. As far as IP on IP issues is concerned,
there's no doubt that Anand's got some original stuff.
sprang a dramatic surprise on the rival Birla camp by producing
senior advocate V. Gaurishankar, 83, as the man who wrote Priyamvada
Birla's 1999 will at her explicit instructions. Sources close
to Lodha feel this will help disprove the charge that she was
deceived into signing away her assets to Lodha. The Birlas will
challenge this interpretation. Meanwhile, in an interesting twist
to the tale, Special Officers appointed by the Calcutta High Court
found a cache of priceless antique gold coins, ornaments and utensils
in a secret strong room in M.P. Birla's house in Kolkata. The
value, according to both camps: not crores, but only a few lakhs.
The soap opera continues.
It's one case
finance minister P. Chidambaram must wish his wife and
lawyer, Nalini Chidambaram, hadn't ever taken up. Last fortnight,
rival politicos gunned for the minister's head after it was revealed
that the income tax department, which reports to him, had appointed
his wife to a case earlier handled by him when he was not the
fm. The lady not just quit the case but returned her engagement
fee when the controversy threatened to snowball. Chidambaram has
our sympathies. Even if you are the fm, it's hard these days,
living on a single income.
If steel czar
Lakshmi Niwas Mittal ever needed an excuse to move permanently
into his sprawling Kensington Palace Gardens mansion (12 bedrooms,
13 bathrooms), which he bought last year for a stunning $127 million
(Rs 559 crore) from Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone, he's just
got one. He's lost a long-running battle with neighbour and Saudi
Princess, Samerah bint Mokhtar al-Saadawy, to keep her from building
a new block of apartments that would overlook his house on London's
Bishop Avenue Street, also known as the Billionaires' Row. The
local council saw no merit in Mittal's contention that the proposed
property would "have a negative effect on the appearance
of the street", and ruled in favour of the Princess, whose
English country manor is expected to consist of 12 apartments
with balconies that overlook Mittal's back garden. Therefore,
the world's third-richest man, who still holds an Indian passport
despite owning a global steel empire, may just decide to move
than put up with intrusive neighbours. A man estimated to be worth
$25 billion (Rs 1,10,000 crore) is hardly going to lose sleep
over a $16 million (Rs 70 crore) apartment.
Ghosts From The Past
urban development minister Ananth Kumar led Hudco for less
than two years, but apparently red tape was not one of his failings.
For instance, "on a single day, he sanctioned Rs 5,000 crore
to 50 companies within one hour", says Prashant Bhushan,
counsel for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which has
accused Kumar of misusing funds worth Rs 14,500 crore. Kumar,
who described the charges as "motivated, malicious and baseless"
to BT, says he disbursed only Rs 8,100 crore in his two years,
and of that 93 per cent went to government agencies. The Central
Vigilance Commission, directed by the Supreme Court to probe the
charges, will find out in four months if Kumar's dealings were
indeed above board.
Less than six
months after GCMMF's (read: Amul) Verghese Kurien sacked
K.P. Reddy as the director of the Indian Institute of Rural Management
(IRMA), where Kurien is the Chairman, a Gujarat High Court order
has put Reddy back on the job and declared his tormentor's order
"null and void". But the octogenarian and feisty "milk
man" of India is hardly the one to give up a good fight.
While the IRMA board has extended Reddy's term, which ended on
September 1, by another three months, Kurien has gone ahead and
issued him relieving orders. That apart, the man credited with
India's milk cooperative revolution has appealed against the single-judge
order with a division bench of the Gujarat High Court. Maybe Kurien
has his reasons for wanting Reddy out, but his pugnaciousness
does take something away from his rich legacy.