The battle for the possession of Jayalalithaa’s palatial Poes Garden bungalow between her nephew and niece and the Tamil Nadu government took another turn as the state government deposited Rs 68 crore as compensation in a city court. The move would enable the government to take possession of the former Chief Minister’s residence and convert it into a memorial. It is also aimed at overriding the claims of Jayalalithaa’s relatives over the property.
The state government’s decision comes after the Madras High Court had in May declared Jayalalithaa’s nephew J. Deepak and niece J. Deepa as Class II legal heirs entitled to inherit all properties left behind by her. The HC order had put spokes on an ordinance issued by the Governor allowing the state government to take temporary possession of the property so it could be converted into a memorial.
On Friday, the Chennai district administration made public the land acquisition award for the 24,322 sq ft bungalow and declared that the property now rests with the government after depositing Rs 68 crore with the city civil court. Out of this amount Rs 36.9 crore would be paid towards IT and wealth tax arrears that Jayalalithaa had owed to the Income Tax department thus freeing it of any encumbrances.
As per the compensation, under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Act of 2013, the government valued the property at Rs 29.3 crore. So far neither Deepak nor Deepa had furnished any documents for claims over the property with the designated land acquisition officer, the order said. Now the two would have to approach the city civil court for any further claims including apportioning of the property. The two had claimed that the property is worth Rs 100 crore by current market value.
In May, while ruling that the government could not acquire the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa without the consent of the legal heirs, the judges had expressed their reservation over using public money to acquire private properties and convert them into memorials. Instead the government could use the bungalow and its surrounding areas, as the official residence-cum-home office of the Chief Minister, they had suggested. Only a portion of the building could be converted into a memorial, they had advised.
Deepa has said that they would again approach the Madras High Court to seek proper directions to gain possession of the property.
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