The acquisition of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister, late J Jayalalithaa’s Poes garden residence by the state government was cancelled today by the Madras High Court after her legal heirs, her niece and nephew J Deepa and J Deepak, challenged the takeover.
The erstwhile AIADMK government had proposed to convert Veda Nilayam — home to the state’s iconic Chief Minister — to a memorial. The AIADMK also said the party has a “responsibility and right” to convert the house into a memorial and that it was the ‘wholehearted desire’ of the people of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK party workers.
It was also one of the pre-conditions of the merger of two warring factions of the AIADMK in 2017 — months after Jayalalithaa’s death — and E Palaniswami, who was Chief Minister at the time, had made the announcement.
In July last year, the state government had deposited Rs 67.9 crore in a city court to take possession of the sprawling 0.55-acre property.
But Jayalalithaa’s niece and nephew, who were declared her legal heirs by the court, had objected, saying the takeover would amount to “grabbing” the property”.
“She (Jayalalithaa) couldn’t leave behind a will for various reasons… maybe because of the cases foisted against her, the prevailing political situation then and also she never knew that she would die,” J Deepa was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
Jayalalithaa, revered as Amma across the state, had died in December 2016 after a prolonged illness. The four-time Chief Minister, known for her Amma canteens and a host of other welfare measures, provoked impassioned displays of loyalty.
Her death had unleashed chaos within the party and government as her live-in aide VK Sasikala made a bid to capture power. The party had split, with each faction led by Mr Palaniswami and then rebel leader turned deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam.