Press reports from Indian are suggesting that the country's largest drinks group, the UB Group, is attempting to stop its rival Shaw Wallace from entering into any deal with the international brewer SABMiller.

The reports said that The Mumbai High Court had admitted that a suit had been filed by UB group's McDowell and Co urging to restrain South African Breweries from acquiring shares in Shaw Wallace Breweries, Shaw Wallace Distilleries, Skol Breweries and Maharashtra Distilleries.

So far the UB Group has refused to comment and it remains unclear on what grounds the UB Group believes it has legal grounds for the suit.

The McDowell suit also sought from the court a declaration to the effect that the 'purported' transfer of the brewing and distilling business from Shaw Wallace to the newly created group companies Shaw Wallace Distillers and Shaw Wallace Breweries is illegal and void.

UB itself is already entering into a JV with UK-based Scottish & New Castle, with the latter scheduled to invest over Rs 500 crore in the Indian company. This proposal is awaiting the Foreign Investment Promotion Board's clearance.

Shaw Wallace has been seeking a joint venture with a multinational brewer to strengthen its beer business in the country's 73m case market for some time. SABMiller has been a frontrunner since the start. Although talks are believed to have stumbled, sources said they had been revived of late.