Amul chairman Vipul Chaudhary gets interim relief, HC stays no-confidence resolution

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NEW DELHI: Amul chairman Vipul Chaudhary, facing dismissal by his board, got a breather from the Gujarat High Court, which stayed the no-confidence resolution which the directors were scheduled to consider on Saturday.

Fourteen out of 17 members of the board of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the Amul brand, had moved the resolution against Chaudhary, alleging financial irregularities and misconduct. The court will hear the matter again on November 11.

The office of the cooperative’s managing director RS Sodhi confirmed that the meeting scheduled for Saturday had been cancelled after the receipt of the court’s stay order. Board members said the standoff would hurt the cooperative.

“The issue will now become complicated. The controversy will prolong and we fear the differences among board members will affect the function of the cooperative in the policy matters,” said a board member.

The boardroom drama has acquired strong political overtones. Chaudhary had enjoyed the goodwill of the BJP but during a visit of Rahul Gandhi to the media club in Gujarat, he went there unannounced and met the Congress leader. He was also seen to be making overtures to Sharad Pawar, and is said to be eyeing the position of the chairman of the National Dairy Development Board.

Chaudhary approached the Gujarat High Court on Friday, seeking a stay order on the grounds that there was no provision in the Gujarat cooperative Act to bring a no confidence motion.

Chaudhray’s lawyer BB Naik, who is opposed to the BJP, said: “We have filed a petition with the main contention that the Gujarat Cooperative Act and the rules made there under as well as the byelaw of the federation doesn’t make any provision for moving of the no confidence motion against the chairman or any office bearer and therefore the federation can’t convene a meeting of it board of directors.”

Jethabhai Patel, who represents Sabarkantha district union on the cooperative’s board said that the workers of GCMMF were not happy with the way of Chaudhary functioning since he took over as chairman. “We are not deterred by his going to court and will fight back,” he said.

(Economic Times, 26 October 2013)

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