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Brother vs brother: Co-op leadership tussle ends

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A four-year leadership tussle at a co-operative society that started with a rowdy showdown at the annual general meeting in 2010 has come to an end of sorts after a court-appointed arbitrator gave his verdict last month.

The arbitrator, lawyer G Raman, rejected the claims by and two others that the resolutions passed and the election of four directors at the 24 July, 2010 meeting were null and void.

In another decision on 17 Jan 2012, he had ruled that the attempt to remove Theyvendran’s brother, R A Nathan, as director and chairman of  the in 2010 was “wrongful and invalid”.

Theyvendran, a prominent community leader and president of the Tamil Representative Council, was criticised for being “most unhelpful” when he was questioned at a  hearing. “To insist that he (Nathan as chairman of the co-op) should not chair the meeting (AGM) is a violation of the normal and accepted norms of procedure at meetings.”

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It was a letter sent a day before the AGM by the TRC to remove Nathan as director of the co-operative that lead to the ugly showdown at the AGM and a series of legal challenges.

“The TRC Management Council had wrongly assumed that they had the power to remove Nathan …..because earlier on he had been the nominee of TRC to the Board but subsequently he had been elected independently as a director and chairman … by members of the corp,” the arbitrator noted.

News reports said that meeting saw 100 members being locked out and the police being called in to keep the peace.

But the arbitrator said the members were not refused entry. They were allowed entry subject to they signing a letter acknowledging Nathan as chairman. “The claimants as well as the witnesses they had called had refused to sign the letter…As a result they were not allowed entry to attend the meeting.”

On Nathan’s conduct, the arbitrator said: “The only remark I can make of Nathan’s conduct is that he was acting  in a somewhat nervous manner…But to his credit Nathan admits that his letter was quite unnecessary. I found Nathan to be a candid and truthful person.”

The arbitrator has invited the parties to discuss the costs of the arbitration with him.

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