Zoho CEO and co-founder Sridhar Vembu left California in 2020 and settled in Mathalamparai village, near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.
After nearly 25 years living in the San Francisco Bay area and running the business software provider Zoho - valued by Forbes to be nearly US$5 billion ($6.75 billion) - the India-born decided to go home.
His intention was to create employment opportunities in rural areas and promote knowledge-sharing among his employees, for which he has won several accolades including one of India's highest civilian awards Padma Shri and received praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But his wife of three decades, Ms Pramila Srinivasan, has a different take. She claims Mr Vembu left for India in early-2020 and never returned.
She said he contacted her via WhatsApp in November 2020 to say he wanted a divorce and filed papers in August 2021.
In the divorce case in California, where they resided together for years, Ms Srinivasan claimed Mr Vembu got rid of a big chunk of his Zoho stake in a complex transaction that moved the company's intellectual property to India and placed the majority of the shares with his sister and her husband.
In her complaint to the court, according to a report by Forbes, Ms Srinivasan said Mr Vembu "abandoned" her and their "son with special needs". He also transferred some Zoho shares they owned "without ever telling me or asking my permission".
In California, according to Ms Srinivasan's lawyer who spoke to Forbes, "the community property law does not allow a spouse during marriage to secretly dispose of assets without obtaining the other spouse's consent".
Forbes reported that, while Mr Vembu has run Zoho for close to two decades, the company is mostly owned by his sister Radha (47.8 per cent) and brother Sekar (35.2 per cent).
Denying the allegations on Tuesday, Mr Vembu said the Forbes report was inaccurate and that his uncle Ram Srinivasan was responsible for orchestrating the family crisis.
"This is a deeply painful personal thread. My personal life, in contrast to my business life, has been a long tragedy," he wrote.
"Autism destroyed our lives and left me suicidal-depressed. My wife Pramila and I were in this fight against autism for over 15 years. She is a supermum and her passionate cause is curing our son of autism.
"As our son got older (24 today), I felt the endless treatments he was under were not helping much and he would be better off in rural India, closer to loving people. She felt I was giving up. Our marriage collapsed under that stress.
"Unfortunately the end of our marriage brought a new conflict. She is making unfounded allegations in court about my ownership interest in Zoho and she has chosen to go to the press, too. The matter is in court in the US, my filings are public.
"All of this mess was caused by my uncle Ram (my father's younger brother) in the US, whom I gave shelter to due to his terminal cancer, taking out his own long-running frustrations with my father.
"He is doing that by spreading malicious rumours about me and my siblings.
"I moved to India to devote myself to my dream of rural development and revival, powered by technology. I tried to get Pramila to come to India with Siddhu but she refused and the pandemic laid waste to any hope of reconciling. I have never left her or Siddhu in any financial hardship."
The family, now worth at least US$4 billion, was ranked No. 48 on Forbes' 2022 list of India's 100 Richest.
But it is now divided. with a messy battle lying ahead.
In his deposition in the California court, Mr Ram claimed the Zoho CEO would enter politics: "Now that he has money, next thing is power."
Indo-Asian News Service
"As our son got older (24 today), I felt the endless treatments he was under were not helping much and he would be better off in rural India, closer to loving people. She felt I was giving up. Our marriage collapsed under that stress."
- Sridhar Vembu (above, pictured with wife Pramila Srinivasan and son Siddhu)