Royal Gaekwad family property feud ends after signing a deal

The two-decade-old royal property feud between descendents of the Gaekwads ended after a final deal was signed in front of Additional Civil Judge of the Vadodara District Court PH Sharma.

PTI| Updated: Oct 23, 2013, 22:15 PM IST

Vadodara: The two-decade-old royal property feud between descendents of the Gaekwads, the royal ruling family of the erstwhile princely state of Baroda (Vadodara), ended, after a final deal was signed in front of Additional Civil Judge of the Vadodara District Court PH Sharma here on Wednesday.

"Scions of the Gaekwad family have signed a final deal to resolve the property feud in presence of a magistrate at a local court here today," advocate for Samarjeetsinh Gaekwad, the coronated Maharaja of Baroda, AV Avadhut, told a news agency.

The property`s estimated worth is Rs 20,000 crore, as per current market rates, according to sources close to the royal family.

Sangramsinh Gaekwad and his elder brother, the late Ranjitsinh Gaekwad, were engaged in a legal battle since 1990, over the inheritance of ancestral property including palaces, precious diamonds, gold, jewellery, invaluable paintings and real estate.

It was after the death of their eldest brother, the late Fatehsinh Rao Gaekwad in 1989, that the legal battle over the inheritance of property began between Sangramsinh and Ramjitsinh.

Despite Ranjitsinh Gaekwad`s death in May 2012, the dispute continued between his son Samarjeetsinh Gaekwad and his uncle Sangramsinh Gaekwad, who resides in Mumbai.

Negotiations between the two factions of the family for a settlement were on for six months, before the final deal was reached in a meeting held yesterday between the royals and their advocates.

"On Tuesday, family members along with their lawyers, met at Laxmi Vilas Palace, the Gaekwad family`s official residence, to hammer out the property division deal," advocate Avdhut said."They had reached a broader understanding over the division of property. Final legalities were worked out by their advocates," he said.

"Advocates from both sides were involved in hectic negotiations over property division and withdrawal of legal cases filed by both sides," he said.

Sangramsinh Gaekwad, who is settled in Mumbai, his wife Asharaje, their son Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad and daughter-in-law Pragyashree Gaekwad had met Samarjeetsinh Gaekwad and sisters of the late Ranjitsinh Gaekwad at Laxmi Vilas Palace on Tuesday for final negotiations, which resulted in the end of this dispute, sources said.

All 27 signatories including Sangramsinh, Samarjeetsinh and five sisters of the late Ranjitsinh and others have agreed to the settlement, sources said.

As per the deal, Samarjeetsinh would get the lion`s share of the property that includes the Laxmi Vilas Palace which is more than 120 years old, located on about 700 acres of land that includes Moti Baug, the ground venue of national and international cricket matches and a golf course, a part of movable properties including gold, jewellery, diamonds and exquisite paintings.

Sangramsinh Gaekwad, who resides in Mumbai with his family, would get Nazarbag Palace located in Mandvi, Indumati Palace, Ashok bunglow and Bakul bunglow on Rajmahal Road, as well as the Baroda Rayons premises in Surat and real estate properties in Mumbai.

The five sisters of the Gaekwad family would get a share in movable properties owned by the family.

The family also owns 16 trusts which hold ownership of several temples, besides gold, jewellery and exquisite paintings. These 16 trusts would be divided within the family.

Sources said that "warmth and relief" was visible on the faces of warring family members when they met.

Sangramsinh Gaekwad had visited Bahucharaji and Khandoba temples in the morning, sources said.