Indo-British Man Jailed For Forging Mother’s Will

LONDON – An Indo-British accountant, who was found guilty of forging his dead mother’s will earlier this year, has been jailed for 12 months by a UK court for lying under oath, a media report said on Saturday.

London-based Girish Dahyabhai Patel had used a blank sheet of paper with his deceased mother’s signature and printed a document around it claiming she had left him a 40- million-pound stake in the family’s 160-million-pound palm oil plantation business in Malaysia.

The 65-year-old’s claim was challenged in court by his brother Yashwant and detailed forensic analysis revealed the document was a forgery.

At the High Court in London in February Judge Andrew Simmonds had found the will to be a forgery.

Instead, he upheld a previous will, made in 1986, which left everything to Yashwant, 69, a doctor who lives in New York.

Girish, who sits as an arbitrator in disputes, was left facing legal costs estimated at 1.3 million pounds.

Justice Marcus Smith held him in contempt of court and sent him to Pentonville Prison in London for 12 months yesterday, ‘The Times’ reported.

Girish had confessed that the “detailed factual account” he gave under oath of his mother signing the will “was false”, the judge said.

“Girish is a chartered accountant and sits as an arbitrator. I would, in the normal course of events, expect such a witness to be reliable and trustworthy,” the judge said.

“However, Girish is a self-confessed liar and even when accepting that he had lied to the court, there was a certain insouciance in his responses which increased rather than allayed my concerns as to his reliability generally,” the judge said.

The judge said that Girish had supported a lying case with affidavits, witness statements and oral evidence.

He had “exercised influence” over crucial witnesses in the trial, enabling him to “persuade them both falsely to witness the will”.

Yashwant Dahyabhai Patel has inherited everything from Prabhavati Dahyabhai Patel, who had died aged 88 in September 2011.

The brothers had fallen out in 2009 over the family’s Malaysian empire and after their mother’s death, Yashwant had produced his will.

Girish launched a bid to overturn it with a will he claimed had been signed by his mother in 2005, on a visit to London from her home in Singapore.

However, his account was dismissed by the court after it emerged the signature came before the rest of the text in the document.

Girish has agreed to pay 450,000 pounds of his brother’s legal costs, and his own are estimated at up to 750,000 pounds.

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