Bombay High Court paves way for VAHA Cafe inside Vama Departmental Store in Peddar Road area

The dispute was over opening up of the VAHA cafe within the premises of Vama Stores by Vama Departmental Stores Ltd, run by Jaya Patel.

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has paved the way for the opening of “VAHA”, a Turkish Gourmet store-cafe inside Vama Departmental Store situated in the tony Peddar Road area of South Mumbai.

The case is part of a larger family feud between members of the family of the late Parmanand Patel. His widow Indu Patel and daughter Jaya Patel are fighting against another daughter Sudha Chowgule over the ownership of the upmarket Vama Departmental Store, the adjacent Kanchanjunga Apartment , a bungalow called ‘Bella Vista’ and also the shareholding of Tulsidas V Patel Ltd and its subsidiaries. This dispute was over opening up of the VAHA cafe within the premises of Vama Stores by Vama Departmental Stores Ltd, run by Jaya Patel. Sudha Chowgule had challenged the move in the High Court.

“In my view, since the premises in which the cafe is being run is not part of the suit premises, no order can be passed in respect of such premises,” said Justice RD Dhanuka while passing an order in favour of Indu and Jaya Patel in the case. “Since there is no final relief claimed in the suit in respect of the premises in question which is subject matter of this notice of motion, no interim relief in respect thereof can be granted by this court.”

Savitri Dadhich, partner of law-firm Dastur Dadhich & Kalambi, who is representing Indu Patel and her daughter Jaya Patel, confirmed the court order but declined to divulge further details since matter is still subjudice. Law firm Crawford Bayley, which is representing Chowgule said that the order will be challenged in the division bench.

The dispute started in early 2014 when Jaya Patel along with her husband initiated a move to set up a Cafe within the premises of Vama Departmental Store. The move was challenged by Jaya’s sister Sudha whose contention was that any such move makes an infringement of a court order to maintain statues quo till the court passes final order in the ownership battle between two.

Currently, part of the Company’s property is under the observation of a court appointed administrator. The court has accepted the arguments that the premises in which the cafe is situated is part of the additional area earlier used by Vama Motors and thereafter used by Vama Apparels. In its order, the court has also observed that applicants have failed to get the court receiver appointed in respect of these premises at the time of the beginning of the dispute in 2005.

The original feud started in 2005 when the family patriarch, Parmanand Patel built Kanchanjunga — one of the city’s landmark building designed by noted architect Charles Correa, family-owned bungalow Bella Vista, also inside the complex and a 25,000 sq ft high-end Vama departmental store. The family’s investment company, Tulisdas V Patel Ltd, controls real estate in various areas of the city.

A suit filed by Indu Patel (& Jaya Patel) in the Bombay high court in 2005 against daughter Sudha Chowgule — married into the Goa industrialist family — alleged that she had forced her mentally infirm father into gifting her majority control (85%) of the family-owned company. Indu Patel claimed in the court that her husband — who she says was not been in complete control of his faculties since 2002 — had been made to cede the rights of division of the family estate to Sudha, while Jaya was away out of country, bypassing her completely.

Also, in August 2006, the court had granted an injunction on Sudha exercising control of the company and ordered that status quo be maintained.

Sudha challenged the order and a twojudge bench personally interviewed Patel. On finding him to be “incoherent and confused”, they ordered an examination by a panel of six leading doctors, which confirmed Patel’s deficiency in cognitive functions, memory registration and recall. Sudha has challenged this report as “vitiated”.

The case is still going on, however, after the death of family patriarch Parmanand Patel, his widow Indu Patel was thereafter made the primary petitioner along with her daughter Jaya.




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