The Bombay High Court was informed Wednesday that when the will of former Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray was read out for the first time after his death, there were no other legal heirs present, apart from his son and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
The witness advocate Flanian D’Souza had earlier told Justice Gautam Patel that he had drafted Bal Thackeray’s will around eight to nine times between 1997 and 2011. Thackeray’s son Uddhav and Jaidev are locked in a legal battle over their father’s will. Udhhav filed a probate petition to get the will certified by the High Court, but Jaidev contested it, saying that according to the will he does not get anything.
When Jaidev’s lawyer examined D’Souza regarding the presence of all legal heirs while the will was being read out, the witness said he had then inquired with one of the will’s executors and family friend and lawyer, late Adhik Shirodkar. “I asked Shirodkar if the family of the deceased had to be present and he said there was no legal requirement,” said D’Souza.
The will, according to the witness, was read in Thackeray’s bedroom, around seven to 10 days after his death. The witness was then asked if the decision to file the (probate) petition was taken prior to the reading out of the will. To this, D’Souza, said, “Shirodkar had stated, considering the (Thackeray’s) personality, and press being curious about his estate, there should not be any delay.”
The first draft of the petition was finalised and thereafter, D’Souza’s affidavit in support of the will was signed at Thackeray’s bungalow Matoshree on January 9, 2014. The affidavit was signed by Uddhav and other executors, namely, Ravindra Mhatre, Anil Parab and D’Souza, who were appointed by Bal Thackeray.
The witness, during the course of the examination, also said a few blank spaces were left in the petition as the same had to filled in with addresses of the executors and names of deceased relatives of Thackeray.The HC, however, pointed out that details filled in by him in his affidavit showed specific paging and mention of Devanagari script in which Thackeray had signed his will. Justice Patel was curious to know if D’Souza had given the details relying on his memory. The HC wanted to ascertain if the will was tampered with. The examination will continue December 12.