Nearly two years after the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the Madras High Court on Thursday issued notices to her niece J Deepa and nephew and J Deepak in a case related to the administration of her estate. The siblings have been asked to submit their replies by November 28.
A petition, filed by K Pugazhendi, the lawyer for Amma Peravai, has asked that the court appoint an executioner for the late CM’s estate.
The petition detailed Rs 913 crore worth of movable and immovable assets across India, reportedly belonging to the late CM. The petition points out that an affidavit, filed by the late CM when she contested elections from the RK Nagar constituency in Chennai, recorded the total worth of her movable and immovable assets as Rs 41 crore. Her affidavit states that she has no direct heirs, the petition states.
The petition further states that there is a “huge variation” in the assets recorded in the judgement of the criminal court in Bengaluru during the hearing of the Disproportionate Assets case, and the assets and liabilities disclosed by Jayalalithaa before the Election Commission.
Elaborating on this ‘discrepancy’, the petition states, “..the obvious reason is the conflict of interest involved for estate of the deceased from various quarters and also the government intention to acquire the residence of the deceased alone as memorial.”
According to the petitioners, the criminal court’s record of her assets and liabilities as Rs 200 crore as of 1996 is now valued at Rs 913 crore.
Gold and diamond jewellery amounts to Rs 5,32,00,750 while silverwares are valued at Rs 4,36,50,000. The petition further states that Jayalalithaa’s fixed deposits and shares amounted to Rs 3,42,62,728 while cash in hand was at Rs 10,64,24,945.
The petition also makes note of her vehicles, including an Ambassador Car, Mahindra Jeep, Mahindra Bolero, Tempo Traveller, Swaraj Mazda Maxi, Contessa, Temp Trax, and two Toyota PRADO.
In addition to this, the petition makes mention of Jayalalithaa’s machinery (Rs 2,24,11,000), footwear (Rs 2,00,902.45), sarees (Rs 92,44,290), wrist watches (Rs 15,90,350), household goods(Rs 15,00,000), books(Rs 40,00,000) and plates, awards, citations, albums and videos (Rs 5,00,000).
In January this year, J Deepa and J Deepak approached the Madras High Court, contending that as per the Hindu Succession Act, they are second-class legal heirs, thereby entitling them to inherit her estate.
They also stated that despite a ‘due and diligent’ search, no will was found.
The siblings' contention came months after the Tamil Nadu government, in August 2017, announced its intention to convert Jayalalithaa's sprawling Poes Garden residence into a memorial for the late leader. With close aide VK Sasikala serving time at the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru after she was convicted in the Disproportionate Assets case, the path was clear for the Edappadi Palaniswami-led state government.
However, claims to Jayalalithaa’s properties were further muddled with a 38-year-old Bengaluru based woman, Amrutha Sarathy, who alleged in November last year that she is the daughter of Jayalalithaa and late Telugu actor Sobhan Babu, born out of wedlock. The court later dismissed Amrutha's plea asking for Jayalalithaa's body to be exhumed for a DNA test, stating that even the dead had their right to privacy.