Pandyas property in Swiss banks! Perhaps this would be your expression if you read the title of this article. Till now we have been reading, listening about black money of Indian politicians stashed away in swiss banks but this time a new story of ancient India has come into the picture.
Pandyas the ancient rulers of Tamilnadu have come into limelight after so many years of destruction of their dynasty.
A case is pending in the Madras high court, which if taken at face value, assets and valuables belonging to the descendants of the Pandyas, worth several hundreds of crores, are lying in the vaults of Swiss banks.
Perhaps unwilling to rule out the possibility of a hidden treasure, a HC division bench has directed the Centre to find out if any deposits or funds belonging to the Pandya kings are lying in any Swiss bank. “The ministry of finance, the government of India, shall find out as to whether any funds are available in any bank in Switzerland to the credit of Pandya kings, and file a report in court within three weeks,” said the bench, comprising Justice P Jyothimani and Justice M Duraiswamy.
Pandyas were one of the three ancient Tamil dynasties in south India, and recorded evidence show that they existed as early as 550BC. The dynasty thrived till 14century and the assets continue to be mired in litigation involving their descendants.
The matter pertains to a claim made by R Padmini Rani, daugther-in-law of Pandya descendant and the last zamindar of Sivagiri Senthattaikalai Pandya Chinna Thambiar, on the properties belonging to the dynasty.
NJ agannathan, who holds the court-issued rightof administration over the properties, too has staked his right to legal heirship.
Padmini Rani approached the high court seeking a direction to the authorities to locate the zamin properties lying scattered all across the country and hand them over to her. When the matter was pending, one Vidya Patwardhan of Maharashtra entered the scene, claiming that her father Prabhakar Patwardhan had been given the power of attorney by Jagannathan. Jagannathan denied giving power of attorney to Patwardhan and Padmini Rani said Jagannathan was not a legal heir, and hence he should return the letter of administration given to him. The bench then directed the Chennai police commissioner to conduct an investigation and file a report.
The commissioner’s report spoke about Swiss national Giuseppe Leopoldo Cessina, who married an Indian woman, Maya, and had two children through her. While he was residing at Kilpauk, Jagannathan met him and sought his assistance to retrieve the properties of the dynasty lying in Swiss banks. He also gave a power of attorney to Cessina. A few months ago, Cessina died in a road accident in Switzerland, the report said.
Now, Vidya, sister of Cessina’s wife Maya, approached the high court saying she had Jagannathan’s power of attorney given toher father.Asthetussleover property and ownership was complex, the police commissioner said the investigation had to be conducted in Switzerland, Sivaganga, Rajapalayam and other places. He said the matter should be entrusted to the CB-CID or such other agency competent to handle the issue of such magnitude. The court has now put the ball in the Centre’s court, asking it to come out with details in three weeks.