M A M Ramaswamy, the man who once controlled the 103-year-old Chettinad Group, one of Tamil Nadu’s oldest family-run businesses with interests in cement, engineering, logistics, minerals, education, healthcare and plantations, is now caught in a family feud that has pitted him against his adopted son M A M R Muthiah, who controls the Group and its flagship Chettinad Cements. Family sources say that there were occasions when the two were barely on speaking terms. Is there someone else behind this public showdown? MAM Ramaswamy (84), the last of the Rajahs of Chettinad, died on Wednesday after a brief illness. A father-son faceoff turned full-fledged family drama evinced interests not just among the business classes, but even the average person on the street thanks to the wide reach of the Chettinad family through their philanthropy. Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox. MAM Ramaswamy is easy with his charity. Many following the sequence of events are asking, what is the real reason behind this feud? Ramaswamy had an older brother Muthiah, upon whose death in 1970 at the age of 40, Ramaswamy inherited the title Kumar-rajah of Chettinad and Chairmanship of the Chettinad Group of Companies. He also said that “five-seven people” including a “family member” have poisoned his father’s mind to take over the estate. At a shareholders’ meeting in Chennai, Ramaswamy was eased out of the board by shareholders, denying him the post of Chairman of the Chettinad Cement Corporation. The fight is over some non-business assets of the group which were under family trusts, including the palaces, huge land banks and philanthropic institutions. A day before the meeting, the CBI had arrested the Registrar of Companies in Chennai for allegedly taking a bribe from Ramaswamy for declaring the meeting null and void. There was another blow in 2014. Tensions erupted two years ago with Ramaswamy accusing Muthiah of surveillance and attempts to curtail his activities. He loves his horses, and takes pride in having run the various educational institutions, most importantly the Annamalai University which was taken over by the Tamil Nadu government in 2013. Today, Ramaswamy is quoting the same violation to disown him, he says he never adopted him under the community rules so he can disown him. The combined wealth of the business and nonprofit assets of the Chettinad group is believed to run in to several thousand crore rupees. “I am not here to take back what Ayyappan has already taken away from my cousin, but to save whatever he cannot inherit,” said A.C. Muthiah. MAM Ramaswamy is easy with his charity. MAMR Muthiah is a sharp, astute businessman. Ramaswamy’s final will, a copy of which THE WEEK had access to, lists the properties owned by him at the time of his death and how he inherited them from his ancestors. MAMR Ramaswamy, Chairman Emeritus of the Chettinad Group who has no active role in the group’s business operations but takes immense interest in the philanthropy of family trusts, is … The month of June has been uncharacteristically busy for business reporters in Chennai. Acknowledged as a community leader of the Chettiars, Ramasamy, the grandson of merchant prince Raja Sir Annamalai, upheld the family tradition of philanthropy through a number of schools and hospitals. The rules of adoption of the community state that a family can adopt a child from the same temple-sect. The family is named after its ancestor, the popular 19th-century Nagarathar banker S. Rm. It was well known in Chennai that Chettinad Group chairman MAM Ramaswamy and his adopted son, who is in control of Chettinad Cement, have been at loggerheads. For Ramaswamy, it was the crown jewel of his public life. He says that his son wants to take over the entire wealth of the family and does not live up to family rituals. MAM, as he was popularly known, was hospitalised in November. Muthiah Chettiar. Chettinad Owner, MAM Ramaswamy, Disowns Adopted Son, I-T Department Raids Rs 10,000 Cr Chettinad Group of Companies. Chettinad Cements, for example, is a publicly listed company with shareholders. The History Behind the Feud Ripping Apart Chettinad’s First Family. Ayyappan said he would fight for properties he was entitled to. Muthiah also reportedly believes that Ramaswamy only indulges in charity for people around him, and not for the larger society or community. Chettinad Owner, MAM Ramaswamy, Disowns Adopted Son2. MAMR Ramaswamy, Chairman Emeritus of the Chettinad Group who has no active role in the group’s business operations but takes immense interest in the philanthropy of family trusts, is fighting with his adopted son MAMR Muthiah, the business head of Chettinad group. family. Ramaswamy was … “Whatever the law may be, he is no more my son. 1. Immunity booster juices, supplements & more for overall health, 5 stunning bridal jewellery pieces for every bride-to-be, Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy. Ramaswamy also says that Chettinad Hospitals, which is under the control of MAMR Muthiah, used to send him medicines for several years but have now stopped doing so for the past three months. The two new trusts will be chaired by Ramaswamy’s cousin, AC Muthiah. Muthiah, previously called Ayyappan, was born in a Chettiar family but adopted by Ramaswamy in 1996 when he was in his 20’s. The father has now disowned the adopted-son. His family is called 'The Rajah family' and he … At the press conference held by Ramaswamy, AC Muthiah sat beside him all along, complimenting what Ramaswamy said and helping him out with talking points. I-T Department Raids Rs 10,000 Cr Chettinad Group of Companies. Raja Annamalai Chettiar was known to be a person who could donate several acres of land without much ado, but could even admonish an employee over a few rupees. In 1996, Ramaswamy decided to adopt a son to take over the business and take care of him in his old age. MAMR Muthiah defends some of his actions. He does not like anyone interfering in his business, and is credited with bringing the up value of Chettinad Group from Rs 60 crore when he took over in the 90s to Rs 4000 crore now. The trouble reached a flashpoint recently when several men close to Ramaswamy were arrested for trying to attack Muthiah. Ramaswamy was born in Madras on 30 September 1931, the second son Sir M. A. Muthiah Chettiar, the Kumar-rajah of Chettinad and his wife. An observer who has been following the Chettinad Group for several years says that to understand the present tussle, one has to understand two characteristics of the Chettinad family. Find out about the real fued that lead Chettinad group owner MAM Ramaswamy to disown his adopted son MAMR Muthiah. Today, AC Muthiah will be chairing the two mammoth trusts which will hold the non-business assets of the group, running into several thousand crore rupees. Ramaswamy came from old money and was part of the famously industrious Nattukottai Chettiar community. The foster son of MAM Ramaswamy, the octogenarian patriarch of the Chettinad family that runs a Rs 4,000-crore business empire, has alleged that former BCCI chief and Ramaswamy's cousin AC Muthiah has created documents with Ramaswamy's thumb impressions in an apparent attempt to transfer wealth. CHENNAI: The palace wars have broken out again. The M. Ct. family has descended from one branch of the S. Rm. Ramaswamy is known to have been miffed, checked himself into a hospital later that evening and denied the post of the Chairman Emeritus which was offered to him. Ramaswamy says that his son MAMR Muthiah has betrayed him. He runs the group with an iron-fist and is known to have good business acumen. It has also been reported that AC Muthiah said that MAMR Muthiah ‘hijacked’ Chettinad Cements. Those close to him say that he believes that one cannot do charity from others’ pockets, so the business arm of the group should not be forced to spend money on charity. Having been stripped off it, Ramaswamy felt that he needed to do something else to remain relevant. Much has been reported about the feud between MAM Ramaswamy, grandson of Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, and Ramaswamy’s adopted son MAMR Muthiah, formerly Ayyappan. According to me, he can only be S Ayyapan and not MAMR Muthiah,” he said at a press conference recently. The adoption was not without controversy. The ‘Nagrathars’, the community of Chettiars, is divided into seven sects following different temples. Apparently, AC Muthiah had been approached by MAMR Muthiah to mediate between the father and the son, but AC Muthiah refused. Members of one of South India’s largest, oldest and most valuable family-held business groups washed their dirty linen out in the open. He is known to be traditional in his approach, and still believes in the feudal structures. On Saturday, Ramasamy’s health condition worsened and he was put on life support. “Is it fair for Chettinad Cements to pay the salaries of employees of the palace?” asks an observer. Find out about the real fued that lead Chettinad group owner MAM Ramaswamy to disown his adopted son MAMR Muthiah. Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. He has started the legal process of annulling the adoption and creating two trusts to secure the assets which are not a part of the business arm. His other illustrious cousin is former finance minister P Chidambaram. He has been at the helm of affairs since the late ’90’s. Ramaswamy went against the Chettiar community and adopted a son from another sect. Annamalai Chettiar is the maternal grandfather of India's former finance minister P. Chidambaram. According to Ramaswamy, the reason he wants to sever the relationship with his adopted-son is because he is stingy about spending on philanthropy, which has been the pride of the family. Some believe that the trouble between the father and son is rooted in the takeover of Annamalai University by Tamil Nadu government in 2013. Confirming the news, G P Jayakumar, spokesperson for his cousin A C Muthiah, said the patriarch of the 103-year-old Chettinad empire, had been undergoing treatment for multiple health problems at a city hospital. Ramaswamy was also a maternal cousin of Complete list of 43 apps banned by the govt, SC seeks Centre's response on plea to fix cost of RT-PCR tests at Rs 400, PM Modi has indicated Covid vaccine likely to be ready soon: Yediyurappa. Adopted by MAM Ramaswamy’s sister … But several questions remain unanswered. They are tight-fisted when it comes to business, but very generous with charity. At a press conference recently, MAMR Muthiah said that he is willing to accept any decision of his father as far as it was constructive for the business. But the same family in the same generation has another failed but lesser known adoption — that of Annamalai Chettiar. Ramaswamy was also a maternal cousin of former Indian finance minister, P. Chidambaram. The head of the family holds the honorific title Raja of Chettinad. He has also said openly that the business comes first, and that he will not allow anything which harms the company’s interest. Ramaswamy had an older brother Muthiah, upon whose death in 1970 at the age of 40, Ramaswamy inherited the title Kumar-rajah of Chettinad and Chairmanship of the Chettinad Group of Companies. Chennai business tycoon M A M Ramasamy dies, leaves behind troubled legacy. 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