CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday declared late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's niece and nephew, Deepa and Deepak respectively, as the legal heirs of her residence "Veda Nilayam" located here. It also asked the Tamil Nadu government to reconsider its decision to convert her sprawling three-storeyed residence located in the upmarket Poes Garden worth several crores into a memorial.
A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose also suggested that her residence, be converted into the official residence of the chief minister of the state, while a portion of the property can be a memorial if needed.
The court order came days after Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit promulgated an ordinance to allow the state government take temporary possession of ''Veda Nilayam'' and set up a foundation under chief minister K Palaniswami for the purpose of converting it into a memorial
On the petition filed by the two, the bench said, "Deepak and Deepa are second class legal heirs of the late CM, being the son and daughter of her late brother Jayakumar." It also made it clear that the duo was entitled for administration in respect of the estate held individually by the late Jayalalithaa or in the names of firms or companies and the credits of the former AIADMK supremo.
Deepak and Deepa shall allot a few properties according to their discretion and create a registered public trust in the name of their late aunt for the purpose of doing social service within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of the order copy. The court then posted the matter for reporting compliance with regard to creation of a trust after eight weeks.
The bench dismissed another plea moved by AIADMK cadre K Pugalenthi seeking to appoint him as administrator of the properties of the late chief minister.
Fondly addressed as ''Amma'', meaning mother in Tamil, by her supporters, Jayalalithaa died in December 2016 after undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospitals for 75 days.