In a startling revelation, Jaidev Thackeray on Wednesday told the Bombay high court that Aishwarya was not his biological son.
Aishwarya, the son of Jaidev’s former wife Smita, is the only grandchild of late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray to receive a share in the family property, according to the will. Bal Thackeray is survived by five grandchildren form his three sons. According to the will, the first floor of the Matoshree bungalow has been bequeathed to Aishwarya, but Jaidev and Smita have been barred from using it.
Jaidev, the estranged son of Bal Thackeray, is embroiled in a legal battle with his younger brother and current Shiv Sena chief Uddhav over the validity of the will. Jaidev challenged the will, saying that his father was of “unsound mind” when he prepared it.
Jaidev disowned Aishwarya when he was cross-examined for the third consecutive day by Uddhav’s counsel, Rohit Kapadia, over his movement between his flat in Kalanagar and the family home, Matoshree, in Bandra (East).
Earlier during the day, Jaidev told the court that he had moved out of Matoshree in 1999 owing to disputes with Smita who continued to stay in Matoshree until their divorce in 2004.
In this period, he would regularly visit his father at Matoshree during the day, and return to his flat at Dallas Apartment in Kalina at night. The overnight visits stopped only a month before Bal Thackeray passed away in November 2012, Jaidev said. He said that on some such visits after the year 2004, he would stay overnight on the second floor at Matoshree, since the first floor used to be occupied by “some unknown person”.
When he was quizzed by advocate Kapadia as to who this person was, Jaidev said his father told him that the unknown person was Aishwarya.
“Is Aishwarya your son?” advocate Kapadia asked.
“No, he is not. In fact, I wanted to set the record straight on Aishwarya’s paternity for a while, but have not got a chance,” Jaidev said. At this however, Justice Gautam Patel restrained Jaidev from elaborating his argument and the court broke for lunch.
Once the session resumed though, Justice Patel said the rest of the deposition would not be open for the public, media and all those not related to the case.
“It is advisable that the rest of the deposition is held in camera,” Justice Patel said.
Earlier during the hearing, Jaidev had also claimed that despite his problems with Smita and even after he moved out of Matoshree, he remained “very close” to his father.
“It was my father’s suggestion that I spend my nights at Kalina. This did not, however, impact our relationship. I continued to remain by his side. And even on the nights that I was not at Matoshree, my father would frequently make telephone calls to me,” he said.