The government of Tamil Nadu has informed the Madras High Court that converting former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s Veda Nilayam residence in Chennai into a memorial is a policy decision of the state. The submission came after the High Court had urged the state government to reconsider its decision to convert the property into a memorial.
The matter came up when the Madras High Court was hearing a petition filed by Jayalalithaa’s nephew J Deepak seeking the state government to hand over the keys to Veda Nilayam to him.
In its response on Wednesday, the state government told the court that it had considered the court’s suggestion to give up the move to acquire the Veda Nilayam property, but since the decision to convert Jayalalithaa’s residence into a memorial is a policy decision of the government, it cannot be reconsidered as per the court’s direction.
In its May 27 order declaring Jayalalithaa’s niece J Deepa and nephew J Deepak as her legal heirs, the High Court had also the state government to reconsider its decision to convert her Poes Garden residence into a memorial. The court had observed that instead of paying compensation, the money could be used for development works.
“The real tribute to any leader should be paid by following his/her principles and working for the benefit of the people and development of the society,” said the court, adding, “If the Government intends to make the residence of the Late Chief Minister’s as a memorial, there will not be any end for such proposals. Every Government would like to make the residence of their leaders who were chief minister’s as memorials and unnecessarily, the public money would be utilized for setting up memorials alone.”
The High Court had also suggested that the Veda Nilayam property be made into the Chief Minister’s official residence cum office instead of a memorial. The court had also directed the state government to file a compliance report on the same within eight weeks.
In July, the state government deposited Rs 67.9 crore in a city court, making it the owner of the Veda Nilayam residence. The amount paid includes the dues payable to the Income Tax Department and the fair compensation towards the value of land and building.
While Deepak filed a plea seeking an order directing the state government to hand over the property’s keys to him, Deepa also filed a separate plea against the government’s move to acquire the property. In her petition, she alleged that the state government was trying to take over all the precious jewels and other movable assets inside the property and was doing it for political gains.