The deposition of Jaidev Thackeray, the estranged son of the late Bal Thackeray, continued to stay closed to the public and the media on Thursday, a day after he announced in open court that Aishwarya, the son of his former wife Smita, was not his.
The Bombay high court on Thursday decided to continue an “in-camera hearing for the rest of his deposition”.
Jaidev, cross-examined for the fourth day by his brother, Uddhav Thackeray’s lawyer Rohit Kapadia, submitted documents and photographs to support his answers. The deposition is likely to continue on Friday, after which the court will set dates to examine the remaining witnesses.
Eight more witnesses, including Jaidev’s wife Anuradha, are to depose before the HC in the testamentary suit filed by Jaidev in January 2013, challenging the validity of his late father and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s will.
Thursday’s hearing began at 12.30 pm, when Jaidev’s counsel Seema Sarnaik requested justice Gautam Patel for an adjournment saying Jaidev was “unwell” and sought his deposition be pushed toMonday. Justice Patel denied the request and rapped Sarnaik for seeking the adjournment.
“This is not a luxury hearing. You can’t keep seeking adjournments, for we are here only because you have filed the suit in court. I have many other testamentary suits lined up for hearing and the court is answerable to other litigants as well. They will ask, what is so special about this case?” he said.
The first three days of Jaidev’s deposition was conducted in open court, but justice Patel imposed the restriction on entry of the press and others “not directly related to the case” after lunch on Wednesday, when Jaidev said he wanted to set straight the record on Aishwarya’s paternity. Jaidev’s statement is crucial because according to the will, Aishwarya is the only grandchild to receive a share in the family property. Bal Thackeray had bequeathed Aishwarya the entire first floor of the Thackeray family home, Matoshree.
By raising questions over his paternity, Jaidev raises doubts over whether Aishwarya can claim his right over the property or will. On Wednesday, Jaidev had told the court: “I do not know who he [Aishwarya] is. All I knew was he was some person unknown to me occupying the first floor at Matoshree. When I asked my father who was living on the first floor, he told me it was someone called Aishwarya.”