Jayalalithaa leaves behind properties in Hyderabad

Uncertainty looms over who will inherit the properties of Jayalalithaa who passed away in Chennai on Monday. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo owned three properties in Hyderabad—two pieces of agricultural land a commercial complex. The properties are valued at Rs 50-Rs 70 crore. She along with her mother Sandhya, aka Vedavalli, purchased these properties in 1967 and 1968 in different deals for a total of Rs 2.28 lakh.

But Jayalalithaa in her affidavit submitted to the Election Commission during her byelection in 2015 showed the value of these assets at Rs 19.48 crore. Besides, a residential building is stated to belong to Jayalalithaa in Maredpalli in Secunderabad, but she hasn’t mentioned it in the election affidavit. Sources who managed her assets in the city long ago told this newspaper that the Maredpalli house belonged to her.

When she was the reigning queen in the film industry, Jayalalithaa used to frequent Hyderabad as a getaway. Like all other leading actors in those days, she too purchased a grape garden in Medchel on the city outskirts. She bought another adjacent piece of land measuring 3.4 acres for Rs 20,000. Jayalalitha and her mother had already purchased a commercial building in Srinagar Colony, close to the posh Banjara Hills, with an area of 14,000 sq ft, at a price of Rs 50,000. In 1967, she also owned a residential building in Maredpalli’s Radhika Colony.

She used to visit her properties in Hyderabad regularly till 1999. After she lost power in the 1996 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, Jayalalithaa stayed in Hyderabad most of the time and remained inaccessible to her party leaders and fans. However, the attitude of the then Congress government in Andhra Pradesh led by the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy irked Jaya from 2004. She preferred not to visit Hyderabad much after that. The Congress government had issued notices to Jayalalithaa in 2007 saying that 8 acres of her farmhouse at Medchel had to be returned to the government as its purchase was illegal. The government’s contention was that the land was an assigned land (meant to be allotted to the poor SC/STs in 1959-60). Jayalalithaa termed this as “political vendetta”. After that, Jayalalithaa totally avoided coming to Hyderabad. Even after coming to power in Tamil Nadu in 2011, she preferred to spend her holidays mostly in Ooty and Kodaikanal hill resorts in Tamil Nadu. A retired revenue official who met her at her Medchel grape gardens, J.J. Gardens, told this newspaper that she used to spend her time mostly reading books.

Currently, the farmhouse has been leased to three local farmers, while a portion of the building was locked for several years. There are property tax demands on the farmlands as well as the commercial building in Srinagar Colony, running into a few lakh of rupees, according to a source who managed the farmhouse till 2009.

Jayalalithaa in her 2015 election affidavit also mentioned having a fixed deposit in the Central Bank of India, with a savings account that had Rs 3.85 lakh. Neither the FD nor any of her properties in Hyderabad have any nominees. The sources also said that the former CM hasn’t left any will to transfer the ownership. After Jayalalithaa’s demise this week, the police has increased security at these places.