Updated: January 29, 2021 8:19:10 am
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa’s residence, ‘Veda Nilayam’ in Poes Garden, was formally inaugurated as a memorial Thursday by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam, state cabinet ministers and other senior AIADMK functionaries participated in the event and paid floral tributes to a portrait of ‘Amma’.
The Madras High Court on Wednesday restrained the state government from throwing the memorial open to the public. Passing interim orders on the petitions filed by Jayalalithaa’s legal heirs J Deepa and J Deepak, the court said the inauguration event alone can take place as scheduled.
However, scores of AIADMK cadres started to gather in front of the Poes Garden residence in the early hours on Thursday. Except for the leaders in the party’s high command, others were restricted from entering the premises. The event was inaugurated by senior AIADMK ministers with the lighting of lamps.
Jayalalithaa’s legal heirs filed petitions challenging the government’s notification for the acquisition of Veda Nilayam to turn it into a memorial and the award passed by the land acquisition officer.
Citing the pending matters, the court said the government should have refrained from opening the memorial. However, advocate General Vijay Narayan informed the court that arrangements have already been made for holding the function, and a stay might create considerable difficulties for the government.
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The court order said that once the function is over, the key of the premises of ‘Veda Nilayam’ should be handed over to the Court Registrar by authorities as the valuable movables of the late Chief Minister, to which the petitioners are now heirs, have to be valued. Further, the court instructed that no flex banners or hoardings should be kept at the event area causing inconvenience to the residents living in the locality. The final hearing of the case has been postponed to February 24.
In August 2017, the Edappadi-led government announced that the residence of Jayalalithaa will be converted into a memorial and be opened to the public in remembrance of Amma’s achievements and service to the people of Tamil Nadu.
The late AIADMK supremo’s residence was acquired by the government after an ordinance was promulgated in May to facilitate possession to convert into a memorial. On July 25, 2020, the state government paid 67.9 crore rupees in the city civil court to acquire the Poes Garden residence. This came after the Madras High Court said the state government should pay the compensation to acquire the property. Out of this sum, 36.9 crore rupees would be paid towards the IT and Wealth-tax arrears which Jayalalithaa allegedly owed the IT department.
Nearly 4kg gold, 610 kg silver, 8,376 books, 38 air conditioners, 10,348 dress materials, 11 television sets, 10 refrigerators, 29 telephones, and mobile phones, 394 mementos, 65 suitcases, 108 cosmetic items, and six clocks were some of the properties listed by the Tamil Nadu government as Jayalalithaa’s assets.
Poes Garden, which lies in the bustling Teynampet area in Chennai, has been the epicenter of Tamil Nadu politics for more than three decades. The residence was brought by Jayalalithaa’s mother and film actor Sandhya in 1967. Since then, Jayalalithaa lived in that house till September 22, 2016, when she was shifted to Apollo Hospital after her health deteriorated. She succumbed to her illness on December 5, 2016.
(With PTI inputs)
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