Where there is a will, there has to be a wail. The royal family of Jaipur is no exception and at the centre of the wrangle are its most famous face, Gayatri Devi, and its much-flaunted wealth. Priyanandana Rangsit, a Thai princess who had married and divorced Gayatri Devi’s late son Jagat Singh, is preparing for a desert storm which could end with some muck on the palace walls.
Priyanandana, who flew down from Bangkok, on Friday accused the former maharani and her stepson Prithviraj of trying to deprive her children, Devraj Singh and Lalitya Kumari, of their share in the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel in Jaipur.
Priyanandana’s lawyer said Jagat used to hold 50,500 shares (99 per cent equity) in the hotel — gifted by his father Sawai Man Singh — while Prithiviraj had just 45 shares and his son five shares.
The counsel alleged that now Jagat’s equity was reduced to 7 per cent while Prithviraj and his family’s share went up to 93 per cent.
After divorcing Jagat in 1987, Priyanandana married a Thai and settled down in Bangkok. Jagat died in 1998.
“At the time of our divorce, I just wanted the custody of my children whom I brought up in Thailand,” said Priyanandana. “But I’m forced to come here as some people are trying to deprive my children of their rights to their father’s property.”
She said the original succession certificate for Jagat’s estate was applied in the name of three legal heirs, Gayatri Devi, Devraj and Lalitya.
She alleged that last week Gayatri Devi filed another application for succession certificate (in Jaipur district court) in which only Gayatri Devi’s name was mentioned. Priyanandana said the certificate was filed on the basis of a will forged in Jagat’s name.
Priyanandana said the ‘bogus will’ disinheriting Devraj and Lalitya was discovered recently when they filed a petition in the Company Law Board, Delhi, against Prithiviraj for the “illegal additional shares allotment of the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel”.
Priyanandana said when Devraj approached Gayatri Devi, there was no response from her side: “She asked him to meet Prithviraj.”