The child hidden abroad, the one given to the 'sister', the son brought up in Erode and several more.

Jayalalithaa is my mother The claims by multiple people over three decades
news Conspiracy Theories Friday, December 01, 2017 - 12:30

In less than a year after the demise of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, two individuals have come forward with the claim that they are her offspring. While it is no secret that Jayalalithaa fiercely guarded her private life, the media attention that these claims have received, has given way to massive speculation. Did we know so little of this leader, that we closely examine every claim of parenthood that has been made in the last three decades?

It was in 1978 that Jayalalithaa's disenchantment with the world around her came to fore in the form of her auto biography in Tamil weekly Kumudham. It was also the first time that she reportedly elaborated on her live-in relationship with Telugu movie star Shoban Babu and how he 'failed her'. But from this point on, the rumour mills began to work overtime and soon stories of the politician having had a child with her live in partner began to do the rounds.

The child hidden abroad

In 1990, the state saw, a Tamil magazine named Nakkeeran claim that Jayalalithaa and Shoban Babu had a child who they had sent abroad soon after it was born. Their daughter 'Shobana' allegedly wrote letters to her mother. The magazine published some of these letters and claims the former Chief Minister never denied the story.

Following this, in 2012, a young woman named Priya Mahalakshmi came forward with the claim that she was the daughter of Jayalalithaa and MG Ramachandran. 

Jayalalithaa who had chosen to write on her relationship with Shoban Babu, never really got around to revealing what kind of equation she and MGR shared. Their on-screen chemistry was well-known and it was no secret that their relationship went beyond just the professional realm. Her entry into politics soon made the subject of this equation a taboo for her to share with the media. 

'I was born to Jayalalithaa'

So, for the people of Tamil Nadu, Priya's allegation and the media's choice to play it up, became a window to imagine what could have transpired between the reel couple in real life. Following this however, Priya was arrested for the 'declaration' and she blamed VK Sasikala for the action. 

Her story was simple - she was born to Jayalalithaa at Srirangam in 1986 and handed over to a woman named Vijaya for upbringing. Her stint in the limelight however was shortlived and the Tamil magazines that chose to share her version, were slapped with defamation notices.

After this, there were multiple claims that sought to portray the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister as a mother who hid her child from the world. But most of them were nipped at the bud. That is, until Jayalalithaa passed away.

The picture that went viral

Shortly after Jayalalithaa’s death in December, a picture of a woman closely resembling her went viral on social media. It was rumoured that she was the late CM’s “secret daughter”, living in the US anonymously.

However, TNM later clarified that the woman in the picture was Divya Ramanathan Veeraraghavan, who lives in Australia with her husband. Divya has no connection with Jayalallithaa and in fact belongs to the family of Mridangam Vidwan V Balaji. This storm caused by this picture had hardly died down, when the next candidate for 'heir' came forward. 

Wasting the court's time

In March 2017, just three months after Jayalalithaa's demise, a man named Krishnamurthy, who is a resident of Erode, filed a writ petition before the Madras High Court. He said that he was the only son of the late Chief Minister. 

His father, was predictably - Shoban Babu and 'his mother' had apparently planned to introduce him to the public as her son between 14-18 September, 2016. Sasikala was allegedly against this move and quarreled with Jayalalithaa about it. The late CM, he says, was then admitted to the hospital on September 22. In his petition, Krishnamurthy goes on to allege that he not even allowed to participate in the funeral. 

"On the instigation of TTV Dinakaran, some unidentified persons kidnapped me and kept me in their custody at the Sirthavur bungalow and tortured me. Therafter I escaped from there with the help of the watchmen of that bungalow," read the petition.

His claims were suspicious and image he provided as evidence of  his relationship with Jayalalithaa, clearly photoshopped.

Days after he came out with this writ petition, the Madras High Court slammed him for lying, wasting the court's time and ordered for his arrest.

Demands for a DNA test

The latest to join the bandwagon of potential sons and daughters is a 37-year-old woman from Bengaluru who approached the Supreme court and sought a DNA test to establish her maternity by exhuming Jayalalithaa’s remains. She has also sought the apex court’s directions to permit Jayalalithaa’s family to cremate her body as per the rites, rituals and customs of Vaishnava Iyengars.

In her petition, Amrutha says she was brought up as the daughter of Jayalalithaa’s late sister Shylaja and that it was only after the former CM’s demise that she came to know through her aunts – LS Lalitha and Ranjani Ravindranath – that she is Jayalalithaa’s biological daughter. Lalitha and Ranjani are related to Jayalalithaa.

Except that as per records Jayalalithaa has only one sibling, a brother named Jayakumar. Shylaja’s claim that she was a sister had been contested by other members of the family. In an interview to Junior Vikatan in 2014, Shylaja claimed that she is the third sibling born to Sandhya and Jayaram, with Jayalalithaa being the eldest and Jayakumar the middle child. Except she never had any proof to back this claim that her mother had given her away soon after birth.

Amrutha states that when she was born on August 14, 1980, at Jayalalithaa’s Mylapore residence in Chennai, an “understanding” was arrived at between Jayalalithaa and the family members that her birth would not be disclosed, to “uphold the dignity of the family as they belong to a very religious, orthodox and cultured Brahmin family” and her birth would come as a shock to everyone.

She says in her petition, “It was decided amongst the family members that the birth and adoption of the Petitioner No.1 will be kept as a secret and therefore all of them, viz., Late Mrs. Jayalakshmi, Late Ms. J. Jayalalitha, Late Mrs. Shylaja and her husband Late Mr. Sararthy took a promise in front of God and amongst themselves that they will not disclose the true facts and circumstances of birth of the Petitioner No. 1.”

She goes on to say that she visited Jayalalithaa on several occasions and that the late Chief Minister treated Amrutha with motherly affection.  Amrutha claims that Jayalalithaa actually purchased membership of the AIADMK for her.

Sasikala once again became the villain of the story and allegedly chased away Amrutha when she came is visit Jayalalithaa at Apollo Hospital. She was allegedly even obstructed from paying her last respects to Jayalalithaa at the Rajaji Hall.

The Apex court dismissed her petition not on grounds of its validity but over her failure to first approach the High Court. While it is not clear if Amrutha will aproach the Karnataka HC now, what is evident is that the secrecy that shrouded Jayalalithaa's personal life will continue to fuel speculation over her biological heir.


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