Shylaja had claimed to be Jayalalithaa’s sister and now her daughter Amrutha says she is Jayalalithaa’s daughter.

Who is Amrutha Sarathy the Bengaluru woman claiming to be Jayalalithaas daughterAmrutha and Shylaja: Image by Junior Vikatan
news Jayalalithaa Monday, November 27, 2017 - 12:11

Nearly a year after J Jayalalithaa’s demise, a 37-year-old woman from Bengaluru has now claimed to be the late Chief Minister’s biological daughter.

In a writ petition filed before the Supreme Court, Amrutha has 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, according to Amrutha.

According to 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.

“It was upon the death of Late Ms. J. Jayalalitha that Amrutha came to know through the close family relatives who are LS Lalitha and Ranjani Ravindranath that she is in fact the biological daughter of Late Ms. J. Jayalalitha and thus, to ascertain the same, the Petitioners herein are seeking the remedy under Article 32 of the Constitution of India for a declaration of the same through an identifiable method to know the maternity i.e., through deoxyribonucleic acid test (hereinafter referred to as DNA Test) which is to be undertaken by any Institute of National repute to ascertain and establish the maternity of the Petitioner No.1,” states the petition.

Amrutha states that when she was born 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 also goes on to state that Jayalalithaa purchased membership of the AIADMK for her.

However, when Amrutha attempted to visit Jayalalithaa when she was admitted at Apollo Hospital in Chennai last year, she was chased away by the security on Sasikala’s instructions. She also alleges that she was obstructed from paying her last respects to Jayalalithaa at the Rajaji Hall.

Amrutha goes on to state that she made similar representations to the CBI, the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and other judges, however, she received no reply.

Is Shylaja Jayalalithaa’s sister?

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. “I was a three-month-old foetus when my father died. My mother entered films and gave me to art director Damodar Pillai's son, who raised me,” Shylaja told JV.

He was the art director of movies like Malaikallan and Maragatham,

According to Shylaja, she lived in Ramanathapuram till the age of five.

Shylaja had made several claims in that interview. She had said that Sandhya used to meet her twice or thrice a week. “She used to take me out to buy chocolate. She used to make me wear gold and feel happy. She once took me to JC road Shivaji theatre to watch my akka's (Jayalalithaa) film.”

However, she had no proof to offer for what she had said.

Shylaja went on to claim that she had a photograph with her mother Sandhya but it was lost and she had no other evidence that she was her child.

“There was a photo of my mother hugging me. But somehow I lost it. I don't have any proof right now to prove that she is my sister. But I am there. If you take my DNA test you will know. When I was 16 years old, my adopted father took me to the Kannada superstar Rajkumar uncle. As soon as he saw me, Rajkumar asked Damodaran, 'Is this Sandhya's daughter?' To that, my father said yes,” she told JV.

According to the petition, Shylaja and her husband Sarathy are no more.

What doesn’t tie up

In the interview there is no mention of Amrutha being Jayalalithaa’s daughter.

Though Amrutha claims in the petition that she has met Jayalalithaa a few times, Shylaja says in her 2014 interview that though she has never met Jayalalithaa, her daughter Amrutha had, but never spoken to Jayalalithaa.

Don’t know who Amrutha is, says Deepa

Shylaja had claimed that she had met Jayakumar (Jayalalithaa’s brother) and his wife many times. She also added that Jayakumar’s daughter Deepa scolded her for not attending her dad’s funeral.

Significantly, in an interview to TNM last year, Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar had called Amrutha a “fake”, stating, “I have no idea who this is. They are fake people. Most of them cropped up in 2002 claiming to be our relatives. I know my dad and mom’s relatives, and I don’t know of any Amrutha. I have seen her in some TV programmes recently.”

Deepa alleges that the Mannargudi clan had created these ‘fake’ relatives in 2002 to create confusion within the family.

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