BJP MLA and member of the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur, Diya Kumari, has said she was “hurt by the behaviour” of the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) officials after they sealed off the gates of her family-owned Rajmahal Palace hotel during an anti-encroachment drive.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Diya said the JDA’s action was out of line since a 2011 court decree had held that the property belonged to her family and had restrained the JDA and the state government from interfering.
The Sawai Madhopur MLA met BJP state president Ashok Parnami seeking his intervention in the matter. She now plans to take legal action against the JDA for violating a 2011 court decree. “I was shocked by the way the action was carried out. The JDA only sent us a notice day before yesterday (Tuesday) and before we could even reply, descended on the site with bulldozers,” Diya told The Indian Express. The Jaipur royal family issued a statement calling the JDA action “a criminal act”.
Diya, who reached the spot after hearing of the JDA action, said she tried to reason with Commissioner Shikhar Agarwal but to no avail. Agarwal, and Urban Development and Housing Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat did not respond to repeated calls from The Indian Express.
“I showed them the court decree and yet they sealed the gates of the hotel. There is some land on both sides of the premises that belongs to the government. But we have no objection to that,” she said. The JDA team had demolished a part of the servant quarters on the property and sealed off the hotel’s main gate Wednesday. “It was insulting. No one should have to go through something like this,” she said. The property in question, Rajmahal Palace, is spread over 54 bigha and 7 biswa at a prime location adjacent to Jaipur’s upscale C-scheme locality.
The hotel is owned by the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur and is operated by hospitality group Sujan Luxury.
“In 1972, the government had acquired 65 bighas and 16 biswa around this area and had issued an award to this effect in 1993. Since then, they have been trying to acquire this property also. So in 2002, we moved the Additional Sessions Court,” said Diya’s lawyer Ramesh Sharma.
“The court granted an injunction on November 24, 2011, ruling that the pre-1947 revenue entries vis a vis properties settled in the covenant of 1949, were null and void. It also restrained the authorities and government to not interfere and let us use the property,” he said.
The action against the hotel, coming on a day when CM Vasundhara Raje was out of the state, set off rumours in the state’s political circles underlining Raje’s purported uneasy relationship with the erstwhile royal family.
“I have faith in the government and the party. The party president has assured me of resolving the matter,” Diya said.