Out-of-court deal to unlock Nizam of Hyderabad's millions

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  1. Neo
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    Out-of-court deal to unlock Nizam of Hyderabad's millions


    NEW DELHI (April 12 2008): It is a riveting tale of royal intrigue, greed and international politics: a million pounds locked away in a British bank, sparking a row between two countries and the descendants of an eccentric Indian royal. The story goes back almost 60 years, to around the time India, then a collection of princely states and British-run territory, and Pakistan became independent.

    The Nizam of Hyderabad, a maharajah of fabled wealth, deposited a million pounds with the National Westminster Bank in London as he dithered over which of the two new nations to join. As the Muslim ruler of an Indian territory the size of England and Scotland, he was attracted by the idea of joining the new state of Pakistan. But with landlocked Hyderabad hundreds of miles away from the Islamic state that posed problems.

    While he procrastinated, his finance minister signed over the money in 1948 to an account at the same bank controlled by the Pakistan high commissioner to London. Appalled, and under pressure from India, the Nizam cabled the bank to freeze the transaction. Soon afterwards, in September 1948, Indian troops annexed Hyderabad.

    The story would be just a footnote in the tragic and traumatic history of the partition of British India were it not for the fact that the money remains locked in the London bank. But on Friday, hopes were raised that the fortune - now expected to have grown to about 30 million pounds - may be retrieved, after India said it would negotiate an out-of-court settlement with Pakistan and the descendants of the Nizam.

    In 1957, after several rounds of litigation between the Nizam and the Pakistani government, the case reached Britain's House of Lords, which ruled that the account could only be unfrozen with the agreement of all the parties.

    "Some tentative sort of understanding was arrived at, but because of a time lag, that could not be implemented and so we are re-starting the negotiation process," Kapil Sibal, Indian minister for science and technology, told reporters. The negotiations would be conducted over 18 months, including with the Nizam's grandson, now living in Istanbul in a small apartment after losing much of the family fortune.

    The legal imbroglio has been complicated by the late Nizam's past promiscuity - he is reported to have impregnated 86 of his mistresses, siring more than 100 illegitimate children and a sea of rival claimants.

    "So how much should the private beneficiary get and then what should be the distribution between the government of India and Pakistan will be negotiated," Sibal said. A frail, devout Muslim, the Nizam was such a miser that he reportedly wore a tattered fez for 35 years, wore crumpled pyjamas and ate all his meals off a tin plate. During his lifetime, trucks loaded with gold ingots lay rusting while his jewellery collection was said to be so large the pearls alone could fill many rooms.

    Business Recorder [Pakistan's First Financial Daily]
  2. mujahideen
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    mujahideen SENIOR MEMBER

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    I think the battle of the Jinnah House in Mumbai should also be solved along with this case.
  3. Goodperson
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    Goodperson SENIOR MEMBER

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    Battle for what ? There is no battle.
  4. mujahideen
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    mujahideen SENIOR MEMBER

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    Well I didn't mean battle as in fighting what I meant is that this matter is in the courts. Pakistan says the Jinnah house should be handed over to the government of Pakistan so that it can use it as an embassy. On the other hand India says its refugees property and belongs to the government of India. This is the battle I was reffering to.
  5. Goodperson
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    Goodperson SENIOR MEMBER

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    Well I know you did not mean battle in Reality Pakistan had since 1979 requested that India sell the property, or at least lease it to its government as a tribute to its founder in order to convert it into their Consulate.
    Musharaf also reiterated the demand, Narshimharao Govt agreed to lease the Jinnah house in principle but its complex issue.

    1) Dina Wadia Daughter of Jinnah has claimed the house.
    2) The house is in high Security zone i.e just opposite to CM of Maharashtra's house.
  6. Always Neutral
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    Always Neutral SENIOR MEMBER

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    Its to complicated. If I am not mistaken, The sole heir of Jinnah is of Indian origin settled in the United States who has laid claim to the property. I wish they would make it into a musuem of Peace and Secularism the ideals which Jinnah stood for.

    Regards
  7. Always Neutral
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    Always Neutral SENIOR MEMBER

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    Seems to be a Real Jolly Roger kind of a chap. 86 mistresses ? wonder how he managed it ! I am happy he left the money with us.

    It will be good to see who gets what. Must check if he had any British Mistresses !

    Regards
  8. mujahideen
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    mujahideen SENIOR MEMBER

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    I agree with your last suggestion. I mean turning the Jinnah House into a museum just might be acceptable to both sides, but then again I can only make comments, I am not involved in the negotiations over this matter.
  9. Neo
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    India to settle royal legacy dispute with Pakistan - Feature


    New Delhi - India has decided to settle a six-decade-old dispute with Pakistan over a royal legacy of more than 25 million pounds lying frozen in a London bank, news reports said Saturday. When the British rulers left India in 1947, more than 100 principalities were still ruled by princes who were given the choice of acceding to either independent India or Pakistan.

    The Muslim ruler of the southern Indian principality of Hyderabad, Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, found it difficult to decide whether he should join the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or go with India, where his tiny kingdom would be landlocked by Indian states.

    Meanwhile, his finance minister WAs said to have transferred 1,007,940 pounds and nine shillings in 1948 to a bank account of Pakistan's then high commissioner in London.

    The Indian government, which soon forced the nizam to accede to the Indian Union, objected to the transfer and the account was frozen.

    The nizam's subsequent requests for transferring the money back was ignored. This led to litigation by various claimants in British courts, including India, Pakistan and the nizam's many heirs.

    The matter was complicated by the fact that Osman Ali, the seventh and last nizam of Hyderabad, had a large harem of more than 80 women and is said to have sired more than 100 children.

    The "Hyderabad funds case" reached the British House of Lords as well, which concluded in 1957 that the account could be "unfrozen" only with the agreement of all the parties.

    India's federal cabinet on Friday approved an out of court settlement with Pakistan and the nizam's heirs.

    "We decided to restart the negotiation process with Pakistan to know how much the private beneficiary should get and what would be the distribution between the two governments," Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal was quoted as saying by The Times of India newspaper after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    A family member of the Hyderabad royals was quoted as saying that in 2002, the total number of the last nizam's sons, daughters and grandchildren were 479. At least 300, divided into five groups, are expected to lay claim to the prize, The Times of India said.

    The seventh and last nizam's eldest grandson, who inherited most of his legendary wealth, now lives in Turkey with his fifth wife and is said to be near bankrupt.

    Four expensive divorce settlements, along with a lavish lifestyle has wiped out most of his inheritance, according to his family friends.

    But his grandfather, the last nizam - India abolished royal titles after independence - is said to have followed a rather austere lifestyle despite his legendary wealth.

    According to those documenting the Hyderabad royal line, he wore the same tattered fez for 35 years and ate off a tin plate on a mat on his bedroom floor. His only extravagance was his many "wives" for each of whom he made generous settlements.

    The Indian government acquired the famed Nizam's jewel collection, built over two centuries, from the trust which is in charge of the family's assets for 135 million dollars in 1995.

    The 173-piece collection is kept in a special vault of India's Federal Reserve Bank in Mumbai and is exhibited rarely under heavy security cover.

    The collection includes the famous 185-carat Jacob diamond, which it is fabled the last nizam wrapped in newspaper and used as a paperweight.

    India to settle royal legacy dispute with Pakistan - Feature : India World
  10. salman nedian
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    salman nedian SENIOR MEMBER

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    IMO Jinnah House must be given to Pakistan to use it as our Embassy. We need to talk to Dina Wadia on this issue since Quaid-e-Azam is a leader of our Nation hence Jinnah house belongs to Pakistan.
  11. mujahideen
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    mujahideen SENIOR MEMBER

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    Believe me I agree with you 100%, as a Pakistani I would favour the Jinnah House being turned into our embassy, but we cant have it our way. This is a dispute and we need to find a middle road. India is also right when it says this is refugee property and the government has the right to seize it. We say this was Quaid-I-Azam's house and we should have it. Dina says this is her property because it was her fathers and being his only heir she should get it. We need to find a solution which is acceptable to all sides.
  12. Always Neutral
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    Always Neutral SENIOR MEMBER

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    Just curious would you in the same spirit give the birth place of the founder of sikh religion now a place located outside Lahore to the Sikhs of India to build the and maintain the Nanka Sahib if India gave you Jinnah house.

    Regards
  13. salman nedian
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    salman nedian SENIOR MEMBER

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    Pakistan is already providing good facilities to the Sikh Pilgrims who used to come here for worship and if they want some extra place for worship and their stay during trip so surely there should be no issue.
  14. mujahideen
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    mujahideen SENIOR MEMBER

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    I agree. Pakistan is helping them as much as we can.
  15. Goodperson
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    Goodperson SENIOR MEMBER

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    Kewl, Pakistan should propose this I am sure India would agree it will be one of the best CBM's.