iconimg Sunday, April 19, 2015

Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, August 18, 2013
After the "will" of the Maharaja of Faridkot, Sir Harinder Singh Brar, which made Maharwal Khewaji Trust caretaker of his property, was declared forged, the trust has challenged the order in court.
It has appealed against the July 25 order of chief judicial magistrate Rajnish Kumar Sharma that the will was "forged and fabricated". It had paved way for the maharaja's two daughters, Amrit Kaur and Deepinder Kaur, to inherit his property (estate and assets) worth Rs. 20,000 crore by virtue of the Hindu Succession Act. Additional district and sessions judge RK Yadav will hear the appeal on Monday.

"The will is genuine and Raja Harinder Singh executed it voluntarily. It is not forged or fabricated," said Ranjit Singh, legal adviser of the trust. "The will is a holograph drafted by the Maharaja himself, which cannot be ignored. There is nothing unnatural in it. Besides, it is a registered document, which itself gives it authenticity," he added, while talking about the grounds of appeal.

The Maharaja was not depressed when he signed the will; rather he was in good mental and physical health and attending all family events, the trust's legal adviser has said. "The maharaja disinherited Amrit Kaur because she had married his employee. She was disinherited in 1952, and so has no right to father's property," said Ranjit Singh.

The case
Amrit Kaur, eldest daughter of the Maharaja of Faridkot had filed a civil suit challenging the will bringing in a trust to manage the maharaja's property and assets. She argued that her father had never executed the will and after the death of his only son, Tikka Harmohinder Singh, in October 1981, remained depressed all the time. "This was about eight months before the execution of the will, which had been created under influence and pressure when the maharaja had not been in a stable state of mind," she had alleged.

At stake
Faridkot palace:
The 14-acre royal residence built in 1885 now has a 150-bed charitable hospital on campus
Qila Mubarak: Built by Raja Mokulsi and reconstructed by Raja Hamir Singh around 1775, it's a 10-acre property, the present main building of which was built around 1890
Faridkot House, New Delhi: On prime land on Copernicus Marg, leased to the union government for a monthly rend of Rs. 17.50 lakh. Valued at Rs. 1,200 crore nine years ago. One more property in posh Diplomatic Enclave
Manimajra Fort, Chandigarh: The 4-acre property is at least 350-year-old. The city administration planned to develop it as tourist destination. Decision deferred because of legal battle
Faridkot House, Mashobra (Shimla): A 260-bigha estate; had five residences, three of which, including Sherwood House, were destroyed in a fire
18 vintage cars: A 1929-model Royal Royce, 1929-model Graham, 1940-model Bentley, Jaguar, Damler, Packard among others, all in running condition
Faridkot aerodrome: Used by the civil administration and army, spread over 200 acres
Gold and jewels: Valued at Rs. 1,000 crore, in Standard Chartered Bank custody in Mumbai.