Battle for control breaks out in The Hindu very divided family

It was also decided, these sources said, that after Ram's retirement, Ravi would take over as Editor-in-Chief of the group while Malini Parthasarathy would be appointed the editor of The Hindu and Venugopal the editor of The Hindu Business Line.

In a follow-up meeting held in February, however, Ram is said to have declined to give up the positions he holds across the company, including the board membership, the sources said.

However, in an email response, Ram said: "No retirement age has been stipulated for directors or the editor-in-chief or editor etc. No retirement age is stipulated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company."

On whether he had agreed to give up all positions in May this year, he said that was "completely, utterly wrong."

Prior to the meeting in February, Ram is said to have recruited two family members in the company: Narayan Lakshman, son of Nirmala Lakshman; and Vidya Ram, his daughter.

A PhD from London School of Economics, Narayan was hired as the Washington correspondent of The Hindu whereas Vidya, a graduate from the Columbia School of Journalism, was appointed the European correspondent of The Hindu Business Line.

This was strongly objected to by Murali, Ravi and Malini Parthasarthy, among other members, who alleged that these appointments were made without the board's consent and proper governance norms were not adhered to.

They also pointed out several alleged financial irregularities in the way in which Kasturi's resources, financial as well as editorial, were used to further the interests of some board members.

The family members had another stormy meeting on March 20 where the issue of retirement and, also, the norms for induction of family members on the board were supposed to be discussed. "Instead of these issues, the pro-Ram faction targeted Murali alleging he was trying to tarnish the image of the company," a source said.

... contd.

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