The police on Wednesday conducted a two-hour long search-and-seize operation at the office of the Bangur Group patriarch, S K Bangur to recover "streedhan" claimed by daughter-in-law, Nitya Bangur.
The court, after hearing a petition from Nitya, where she alleged that she has been deprived of her property and assets by her in-laws, had ordered the police to search the residence and office of S K Bangur. Nitya, daughter of the late Deepak Khaitan and granddaughter of Brij Mohan Khaitan – the late Williamson Magor Group patriarch, was married to the elder son of S K Bangur, Virendraa Kumar Bangur, on February 1998. However, on June 19 last year, she, alongwith her two sons, separated from the Bangur family.
Nitya, had moved out from her in-laws’ house around a year and a half back on the grounds that she was tortured mentally as well as emotionally. At that point in time, she left her assets back in that house which she claimed had become inaccessible to her.
On Tuesday, a search operation stretching for more than nine hours was conducted at the Bangur residence. Wednesday's operation marks the end of the court-ordered police operation at Bangur’s residential and office premises.
S K Bangur did not respond to calls or messages.
Dabanjan Mandal, partner at Fox and Mandal, the legal counsel for Nitya, said that the police would be making a list of the items seized which is claimed by Nitya as her belongings.
“Thereafter, the police will hand over these items to Nitya and she has to acknowledge the same”, Mandal said.
Additionally, Nitya, according to the court order, will have to submit a bond of Rs 50 million.
Streedhan refers to belongings, property and assets of Hindu women which she received as gifts both before as well as after marriage from relatives or any person who isn't a relative. She has exclusive rights on this property and can use it as she wishes.
Among the items claimed by Nitya as her property are silver items, shawls, sarees, carpets, crockery, curios & showpieces, ivory items and paintings. Also on the list are her investment records, bank account statements and books estimated at around Rs 150-200 million.
The criminal complaint against Bangur follows a legal suit filed earlier for carving off family assets. Nitya's sons, aged 12 and 14 years, had filed a legal suit, under their mother’s initiation, for carving off the family’s assets estimated at Rs 30 billion. It followed after several attempts of an amicable settlement failed.
The suit was filed for protecting the rights of the two minor Bangur scions in the coparcenary assets and properties, which, they contend, will be denied by their grandfather and other family members. They were seeking a two-ninth share of the assets estimated at around Rs 7 billion.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered to maintain status-quo with regard to the joint family properties forming the subject matter of the suit. The order still subsists as on date and inspite of expiry of time for filing replies, the Bangur family members had not filed reply to the High Court proceedings.
The criminal complaint and the ensuing legal suite originates after Nitya and the Bangur family failed to reach an out-of-court settlement which was favoured by the Marwari community. Sources claimed that a settlement amount of Rs 1.5 billion was finalised and the necessary papers were also drafted but S K Bangur had backed out eventually, which led to a spat of legal proceedings.