NEW DELHI: A London court on Wednesday ruled in favour of India’s erstwhile emperor Nizam’s great-grandson Mukarram Jah which will allow him to walk away with $42 million (£35 million) after 72-year long legal proceedings.
The dispute dates back to India’s pre-Independence era when the last Hyderabad ruler Mir Osman Ali Khan decided to put £1 million in the British banking system which in 1948 was transferred to the then Pakistan’s High Commissioner for safekeeping, following Khan, remained indecisive whether his state would go with India or Pakistan.
The court decided that the Nizam’s descendants were the rightful owners of the cash deposited in an account in the United Kingdom’s National Westminster Bank.
The court, according to Nizam’s lawyers, made it clear that the money should not be handed to Pakistan since it was a mere trustee, and the sum belonged to Hyderabad’s ruler.
“Nizam VII (Mir Osman Ali Khan) was beneficially entitled to the fund and those claiming in right of Nizam VII – the Princes and India – are entitled to have the sum paid out to their order,” Justice Marcus Smith of the Royal Courts of Justice at London said.
The money that has now appreciated to £35 million will go to Nizam’s descendants – Mukarram Jah, the eighth Nizam of Hyderabad and his younger brother Muffakham Jah.
Both have joined hands with the Indian government in the legal battle against Pakistan which laid its stake on the Nizam’s wealth.
However, Pakistan has an option to seek an appeal against London’s court verdict.