Who will inherit Jayalalithaa’s properties? Court battles could have the last say

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CHENNAI: Legal wrangles over the estates of J Jayalalithaa and her other assets have just started to warm up, one year since she was laid to rest on the Marina. These will reach a boiling point soon giving way to the appointment of an administrator to manage the assets, say jurists.

There are multiple potential claimants to the assets which fall in three categories: owned before Jayalalithaa became chief minister in 1991, acquired during her 1991-96 term and frozen because of the corruption case, and property acquired after 1996.



A quick math of Jayalalithaa’s moveable assets including 28 kg gold and diamond jewellery lying in a Karnataka court locker and immovable assets across Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad would show they are worth more than Rs 1,000 crore now. Since she did not leave behind a will+ bequeathing even the unlitigated property to anyone, it is going to be a long-drawn legal process before someone rightfully inherits them.

“It will be hardly a short process,” said former public prosecutor of Tamil Nadu S Jayakumar. “She has not left behind a will and besides her class 2 legal heir Deepa and her brother Deepak, there are reports of new claimants who, if proved, could become the class 1 heir,” said Jayakumar, who along with his senior N Jyothi, was the trusted lawyer for Jayalalithaa for several crucial years. “If claimants apply for legal heir certificate, the onus of ascertaining their genuineness would fall on revenue authorities. Ultimately courts alone would be able to settle the issue, but it will take a lot time,” he said.



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