‘Royal row’: Half ownership of Delhi bungalow, another property in Bengaluru offered for Rs 250 cr

Travancore house I Photo: Mathrubhumi

New Delhi: The deal for selling the Travancore House was finalised for Rs 250 crore by a section of the erstwhile royal family.

The deal with a real estate firm in Chennai became controversial after the Kerala government said it has not consented to sell the property.

The contract comprises half the ownership of Travancore bungalow located in 8.195 acre in Delhi and another property of 55 acres in Bengaluru. However, the contract noted that a no objection certificate from the Kerala government and approval from the union government are mandatory for completing procedures of sales.

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From the 17 clients, Venugopal Varma has been placed as the power of attorney for the legal procedures. This group claimed their rights over the Travancore guest house with Kowdiar palace as per their lineage in the erstwhile Travancore royal family. The contract facilitates the company to resort to court's aid if any conflicts over legal rights surfaces with Kowdiar palace.

According to the contract, it is the responsibility of the company to collect the documents in connection with the ownership of the property from the concerned departments. The contract which was registered on October 21 states the firm has given Rs 1 crore already and the remaining amount would be handed over within 6 months. If the sale gets obstructed by any means, the contract will be terminated and the received amount has to be paid back within a month.

The Travancore house, constructed in 1930, is located in Kasturba Gandhi Marg in Delhi. The erstwhile royal family claims that the house under their ownership was entrusted to shelter the soldiers during the period of second world war. However, the central government refused to return it and handed it over to the Kerala government later. Although the erstwhile Travancore royal family approached the Centre in 2019 seeking complete ownership over the property, no actions proceeded.

Meanwhile, the latest contract suggests skirmishes within the erstwhile royal family itself over the ownership of the properties. Adv MKS Menon, who manages the cases regarding Kowdiar palace pointed out the 1993 Supreme Court judgement which accorded the rights to all properties of the erstwhile royal family for the descendents of Chithira Thirunal. The parties involved in the latest contract over Travancore house have not responded regarding this.

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