The descendants of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mukarram Jah and Muffakham Jah, are fighting a legal battle against the Pakistan government over the rightful inheritance of funds. The case, involving funds worth £35 million held with NatWest Bank in London, has reached a critical stage in the UK Royal Courts of Justice, PTI reported.
Known as the Hyderabad fund, the initial amount deposited in the Royal Bank of Scotland and the National Westminster Bank was £1 million. The amount is believed to have been transferred by the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, to the high commissioner in Britain as an aid to newly-formed Pakistan in 1948.
The legal representatives hope that the dispute will be cleared after decades. "His Exalted Highness Nizam VIII and his younger brother have waited decades to receive what their grandfather gifted them. Pakistan has blocked access for 70 years and we hope the recent trial will mean a final resolution at last," said Paul Hewitt.
The case officially listed as 'The High Commissioner for Pakistan in the United Kingdom versus seven others' is presided over by Justice Marcus Smith. It includes claims by the Nizam's ancestors, the Indian government and the President of India.
The 'central question' according to the judge, Justice Marcus Smith, for the past two weeks of trial in the UK High Court involved the rightful owner of the late Nizam's funds.
India claims that the Nizam sought for a return of funds after he was asked to either join Pakistan or stay with India 1948. The Nizam had earlier claimed of forming a separate kingdom within the British Commonwealth of Nations.
The amount was then deposited to the bank account of the High Commissioner of Pakistan, Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, and NatWest held onto the amount.
According to reports, a document of the case reveals that the transfer of funds took place during the military operation in September 1948 when the Indian troops invaded the princely state.
It is also claimed that since the amount was deposited three days after the state acceded to India on September 17, 1948, the money belongs to India. Other claims of the amount being Nizam's personal money and its legal ownership lying with the descendants as per the principles of natural justice was also earlier mentioned.
India said the amount was deposited by a delegation of officials of Hyderabad three days after the state acceded to India on September 17, 1948, and hence, the money should belong to India.
In 1957, the House of Lords had suggested an out-of-court settlement between Pakistan, the Nizams and the bank. The judgment in the case is expected in six weeks' time, reported PTI.