Former Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman of Chettinad Group of companies, M. A. M. Ramaswamy, disowned his adopted son MAMR Muthiah. The family feud first came to the fore, when Ramaswamy was not elected as a Director in the AGM of Chettinad Cement Corporation, in August 2014. Ramaswamy, 84, one of South India’s biggest business conglomerates, had ruled out any settlement with Muthiah and declared that Muthiah should not perform any ceremonies or obsequies on his demise. A politician from Janata Dal (secular) party, Ramaswamy, represented Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha. The Chettinad Group has expanded it’s business kingdom in the past, across various spheres, like cements, hospitality, education, agriculture, information technology and so on.
In a recent press conference at his palatial Chettinad Palace in Chennai, estimated to be worth up to Rs 3,500 crore, which hosted the Duke of Edinburgh in its heyday, Ramaswamy said, “I have disowned him and do not wish to call him my son. Whatever the law may be, he is no more my son. According to me he can be only S Ayyappan (original name) and not MAMR Muthiah,”. He added that the adoption has been nullified and steps are taken from the legal side to void the adoption.
Many rumors are doing the rounds regarding the immediate decision taken by Ramaswamy to disown his heir Muthiah. Ramaswamy said that his son Ayyappan had let him down and emotionally scarred him by not performing the annual rituals for his late wife, Sigappi Achi. He also added that his adopted son’s miserly attitude did not gel with his philanthropic one. His son tried to oust his hereditary workers, while Ramaswamy wanted to retain them as they were dependent on their family for support. It is also said that the horse racing aficionado, MAM Ramaswamy was irked by Muthiah’s alleged grabbing of his ancestral family property and companies, apart from his cruel treatment of his horses.
Ramaswamy said that he and his wife Sigapi Aachi adopted Ayyappan in 1995 for want of biological heirs despite the advice of his community members. He was later renamed as MAMR Muthaiah. Since the adoption did not follow the tradition and mandatory customs of the Nattukottai Nagarathar Community (Chettiyar community) the wealth cannot go to Muthiah, claimed Ramaswamy. Apparently, he had written and registered a will that all the assets which may be left at the time of his death, would go only to the newly formed trusts – Dr M A M Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Charitable Trust and Dr M A M Ramaswamy Chettiar Trust and not to MAMR Muthiah or anyone claiming on his behalf or under him.
MAMR Muthiah retorted that his father is acting under the influence of some of his relatives with vested interests, who were against his adoption as the fourth generation descendant of the Chettinad family. Meanwhile, senior advocates said that an adoption completed under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, is irrevocable.