Turning to Ma: Meet Vijay Mallya's stepmom Ritu, new director at MCFL

Stock holders might have cheered news of Vijay Mallya's departure from Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers but their joy wasshortlived given that his step mom Ritu Mallya was on Thursday appointed on the company's board.

Not much is known about Ritu, who was the second wife of Mallya's father Vittal. Originally fromMumbai, Kailash Advani (Ritu Mallya) was a lawyer by training and met Vittal Mallya while running a garment business, which resulted in the couple getting married and her changing her name to Ritu to conform with anastrological belief,according to this India Today report.

A joint shareholder with her stepsonin United Breweries, Rituis known to share a very good relationship with her step-son but despite being a lawyer by training shehasn't really been a part of the group'soperationsin any way. Apart from involvement in cancer awareness campaigns, she reportedly spent time tending to the garden of the Mallya family bungalore in Bengaluru.

A cricket fan, she's been seen alongside Mallya at IPL matches to cheer his team Royal Challengers and in the past has also endorsed grandson Siddharth to take over afterVijay Mallya

Ritu's sudden elevation to the board of directors of Mangalore chemicals is being seen as a means for her stepson to retain control of the company even as the Zuari group is readying a Rs 282 cr open offer to help him do the same. Shares of Mangalore Chemicals shot up 15 percent this morning on the NSE to Rs 99.9 after Zuari group announced a voluntary open offer. However, at 11.49 pm, the stock was up only 7.78 percent at Rs 93 on the NSE.

In the battle for control of MCFL, Mallya had sided with Zuari group and launched an earlier open offer to ward off the takeover bid of Deepak Fertilizers.

The battle for MCFL between Deepak Fertilisers and Zuari Group was triggered in April 2013 when the latter bought about 10 per cent stake in MCFL through open market.

Later, Deepak Fertilisers acquired 24.46 per cent stake in MCFL in one-go in July 2013. After this, Zuari group had increased its stake to 16.43 per cent in the same month.

Ritu's elevation was reportedly forced by the fact that State Bank of India had refused to lend funds to companies on which Mallya was a board member.

SBI, which had an exposure of Rs 1,600 crore to Mallya's now defunct Kingfisher Airlines had earlier sent a notice to the tycoon about declaring him a wilful defaulter. Mallya has been battling being labelled a wilful defaulter by other banks as well, which would prevent the companies he controls from being able to access funds from lenders.

With Mallya facing the heat in other companies like United Breweries and United Spirits as well, it remains to be seen if Ritu will have to step into those companies as well for him to retain control of them.

with inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 05, 2014 13:20:18 IST