Chennai: Declaring former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s nephew and niece as her ‘Class II legal heirs’, the Madras High Court on Wednesday held that the Government cannot acquire any of her properties without the consent of the heirs. Only a few days ago, the Tamil Nadu Government had promulgated an ordinance temporarily taking over ‘Veda Nilayam,’ Jayalalithaa’s imposing Poes Garden bungalow in Chennai, to set up a memorial.
Jayalalithaa, a spinster, had left behind movable and immovable assets valued at an estimated Rs 113 crore in 2016, the year she died. The former AIADMK leader had not left behind any will and her only known close acquaintance was her aide V K Sasikala, who is now in jail in a disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa was the prime accused.
Following her death in December 2016, her brother’s son and nephew J Deepak – until then largely unknown to the outside world - and Sasikala had performed her last rites.
Deepak’s sister J Deepa had accused that she was not given access to her aunt when she was hospitalised. Passing orders on petitions, including one by Deepak, a bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose declared that Deepak and Deepa were entitled to inherit all properties left behind by their aunt.
The judges said the Government could not acquire any of Jayalalithaa’s properties without issuing notices to the heirs and paying monetary compensation. The court, while granting a Letter of Administration in favour of Deepak and Deepa, took note of their submission to create a public trust in Jayalalithaa’s name for welfare activities by allotting a few of her properties.
The trust, the judges said, must be established within eight weeks. Holding that “rank outsiders” cannot be granted such Letter of Administration, the judges rejected applications of two AIADMK middle level leaders who sought that they should be allowed to administer her properties