Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed the Centre to determine whether any funds have been credited in any bank in Switzerland to a Pandiya`s king and file a report in court within three weeks.
The directive to the Finance Ministry was given by a Division Bench, comprising Justices P Jyothimani and M Duraiswamy, while passing further interim orders on a petition by R Padmini Rani, wife of S K N Raveendranath of Tirunelveli, who claimed to be the legal heir of Varaguna Pandiya Chinna Thambiar.
Padmini Rani had prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to identify and hand over to her, all immovable property belonging to Sivagiri Estate.
The properties were entrusted to the Tirunelveli District Collector for management, under the Court of Wards Act.
The petitioner also sought a statement of accounts and payment of the income accruing to the Estate while it was in the management of the Court of Wards.
In keeping with a court directive on June 15 last, the Chennai Central Crime Branch Inspector of Police had filed a report claiming that a huge amount was deposited in the name of Pandiya`s King in a bank in Switzerland.
Hence, further enquiry was required by some other agency, since it related to various properties in different places, the report added.
Holding that the matter required further investigation in respect of assets of the estate, situated throughout the State and also the claim that huge amounts were lying with a foreign bank,the Bench directed government to entrust all papers to CB-CID for further probe and file a report in three weeks.
Several civil suits had been filed by one S K Jegannathan, a close relative of Padmini Rani. In all these suits, she had got herself impleaded as a party-respondent.
Vidhya Patwardhan, who also claimed to be legal heir of the Pandia, is the sister of one Maya, who married a Swiss national Giuseppe Leipoldo Cassina.
Cassina, killed recently in a road accident, reportedly has the power of attorney of Jegannathan.
Chinna Thambi Varaguna is a descendant of Jayatunga Varaguna Rama Pandyan, who held estates under Pandyan kings of Madurai. The estates were established in Sundakulam, later at Thenmalai and in 1733-34 in Sivagiri, traditionally recognised as one of the 72 palayams in Madurai.