Free Press Journal

Bhopal: Property disputes of royal families become talk of the town


Bhopal: After reports that wife of ex-CM Arjun Singh has staked claim on Kerwa Kothi by filing suit in the District and Sessions court of Bhopal- the properties disputes of many royal families and well known families have become talk of the town.

Bhopal Nawab’s property dispute is not new for the people of Bhopal.  Sharmila Tagore, wife of cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Saif Ali Khan’s mother has is pursuing various court cases to justify that Pataudi was the rightful heir of the royal family of Bhopal’s princely state as he was the grandson of the last Nawab of Bhopal, Hamidullah Khan. Nawab Pataudi’s sisters and Saif Ali Khan, Karina Kapoor(Khan), Sharmila Tagore are in legal battle over the division of property.

Similarly, property dispute amongst the members of erstwhile royal family of Panna took a sensational twist in 2015 after daughter-in-law of former maharaja Jeeteshwari Kumari made maharaja’s will public.As per the will former maharaja claimed that his daughter Krishna Kumari is an illegitimate off spring of his first wife Dilhar Kumari.’Will’ executed in 2005, states granddaughter (daughter of Jeeteshwari Kumari) would be owner of all properties.

However,  Dilhar Kumar termed it as “a forged document”.  Royals of Panna lives in  Raj Mandir palace in the city, own properties spread over a large area in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Lucknow, Bhopal, Panna and surrounding areas.  ‘Will’ also mentions property owned by Ismaili Raja alias Krishna Kumari, second wife of Manvendra Singh- and her intentions to pass it on to Raghvendra.

Scindias too are also feuding with each other over property ownership. The scion of the erstwhile Gwalior state, Jyotiraditya Scindia 46, and his three aunts are involved in the legal battle involving properties worth over Rs 40,000 crore.

Jyotiraditya, the Congress MP from Guna, had filed a case in a Gwalior court in 1990 claiming to be the sole heir to the Scindia inheritance. His aunts—Usha Raje (settled in Nepal), Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan CM) and Yashodhara Raje (senior cabinet minister in Madhya Pradesh)—had contested the nephew’s claim, citing the will of their late mother, Vijaya Raje Scindia, dated September 20, 1985.

Ratlam royal house has dispute for properties worth Rs 1200 crore. The tussle for property in the Ratlam royal family became public with the coronation of two ‘kings’ in January 30,2011. Suryavir Singh’s coronation took place in the darbar hall of Ratlam’s Ranjeet Vilas Palace while another claimant to the throne Ramlaxman Singh was crowned in the courtyard of the palace. Suryavir claims to be a great grandson of Lokendra Singh, the last ruler of Ratlam, while Ramlaxman Singh claims to belong to the family of King Chhatrasal, who ruled central India between 1684 and 1709.

Rewa princely estate also witnessed a tale full of twists and turns in 1992 when its ruler Martand Singh was flown to New Delhi by a special plane for medical treatment. But his wife Praveen Kumari and son Pushparaj Singh lodged a report with the police saying that he had been “abducted”.

Martand’s personal secretary, Laxman Mishra  had created a sensation by releasing a statement, certified by a notary, and some photocopies of a 1963 diary handwritten by his master. In the statement,  maharaja had  claimed that he had never lived as husband- wife with Praveen Kumari.  Martand had carried out a partial partition of his property, dividing it in  equal shares and giving one share each to his wife, son, himself.

Advocate Jagdish Chhawani who appeared in cases related to Nawab properties for many years, said, “In such cases affected parties bear the loss but outsiders try to take advantage of the situation. Families should themselves find a solution into the property related issues. Despite being a lawyer, it is my suggestions that it is not justified to knock the door of court over property dispute or property division as only it becomes talk of the town or media material and nothing else.”