October 22, 2013 1:43:27 am
In the middle of hectic parlays for settling the dispute over property division among the Gaekwads,the present Maharaja of Vadodara,Samarjitsinh Gaekwad,got Indumati Mahal vacated on Monday. Indumati Mahal is among the family properties offered to his uncle Sangramsinh Gaekwad for a compromise. The royal family begun shifting their assets from Indumati Mahal earlyMonday.
About 12 men moved out antique wooden and steel cupboards,documents and other belongings. Sources said that the direction to remove belongings was issued by Samarjitsinh in order to ready the transfer of possession of property. Sangramsinh is based in Mumbai.
The Indian Express had reported that Sangramsinh has been offered Indumati Mahal along with Nazarbag Palace in Mandvi,Ashok Bungalow and Bakul Bungalow on Rajmahal Road,two family plots near Makarpura airforce,plot in Sama and a few other properties in Vadodara.
Indumati Mahal was once the devghar or puja ghar of the Gaekwad family. It was built in the memory of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwads wife,Maharani Chimnabai I and named after Sayajiraos granddaughter and and the sister of Pratapsinh Mahraja,Princess Indumati Raje.
The building is an amalgamation of the Hindu and Mughal styles with a huge chowk that depicts Peshwa architecture; jharokhas adorn the palatial rooms. It was used for satsangs and weddings of family members.
After the merger of the Baroda State with the Union of India,Indumati Mahal became the Khangi kacheri or the office of comptroller of household.
The basement of the property once housed lakhs of historic books which have now been destroyed as well as rare pictures of the royal family that were either destroyed or went missing.
An insider said,The Laxmi Vilas Palace is certainly not being divided. The more serious aspect of the deal is that almost all precious properties will remain in the possession of Samarjitsinh under the present compromise deal.
According to insiders,a big chunk of the property that is still in possession of the family,has not been put on the negotiation platter. This includes 16 family trusts,including the Devasthan trust that has several gold and silver ornaments,jewellery,artefacts,exquisite pieces of furniture,paintings. Sangramsinh is not being offered any other precious portion of the family property of which he is an equal shareholder. Samarjitsinh has decided to retain hold on the royal museum,where most of the family treasures are displayed, said an insider.
The settlement between the family of Late Maharaja Ranjitsinh is not just limited to his brother Sangramsinh as there are also his five sisters involved in the settlement of the dispute.
When contacted,Samarjitsinh said,I am bound by an agreement of confidentiality as the negotiations are on.
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