Reversing the former AIADMK government’s decision to acquire Veda Nilayam, the residence of ex-CM J Jayalalithaa, the Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered that the property should go to her legal heirs, J Deepa and J Deepak. Justice N Seshasayee ordered the state government to hand over the property to the former chief minister’s niece and nephew in three weeks. The court passed the directive on a plea filed by Deepa and Deepak against the acquisition by the state government.
The acquisition of the sprawling bungalow in Poes Garden, one of the upmarket residential locations in Chennai, was executed by the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led government amid strong opposition from Deepa and Deepak.
The Palaniswami government had also initiated a beachside memorial for Jayalalithaa, a Phoenix-themed decoration in memory of the leader.
The high court on Wednesday questioned why the government should make initiations for two memorials for Jayalalithaa. The order scrapping the acquisition of Veda Nilayam follows a stay on opening the memorial for public visits.
The decision to repurpose the Veda Nilayam residence as a memorial was taken amid immense uncertainty over the leadership of the AIADMK and the stability of its government beginning 2016.
Palaniswami had managed to stem the flow of MLAs away from his faction to that of Panneerselvam, but the party remained demoralised and rudderless in the absence of a strong leader. Politically, the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa has remained a seat of power for the time she was ruling the roost at the AIADMK. The return of the property to her kin, who have had little to no impact on politics, is expected to remove another political epicentre from Tamil Nadu’s politics, going forward.
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