Amending a recent order, the Madras High Court on Friday declared Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Madhavan and her brother Deepak as legal heirs of the late Chief Minister to inherit her ancestral and properties.
On Wednesday the court had declared them as Class II legal heirs under the Hindu Succession Act.
Dismissing a plea by an AIADMK functionary to appoint an administrator to look after Jayalalithaa's properties the court also directed the Tamil Nadu government to reconsider its plans to convert Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden Residence into a memorial. Only recently, the Tamil Nadu Governor had promulgated an ordinance to temporarily take possession of the house and its movable properties to pave way for a foundation to be formed for the memorial.
Welcoming the order, Deepa Madhavan told NDTV, "Now I don't know whether the ordinance is valid or not. Irrespective of that I would give a petition to the governor raising these issues."
Sasikala, the jailed aide of Jayalalithaa was the last occupant of the Poes Garden residence after Jayalalithaa died. Ms Madhavan rules out any will by her aunt bequeathing her properties. She said, "If at all any claim is made at this stage, it must be made up. It has to be a registered will. It can't be done in a private manner because she was holding the position of a Chief Minister."
Armed with the court order, Ms Madhavan wants the state government to hand over all properties of Jayalalithaa to them, including the 1,000-acre Kodanad estate and the ancestral grape garden in Hyderabad. She added, "They need to be safeguarded. They will not be vandalised and they will not be in any illegal possession of any outsider."
Speaking about her fond relations with Jayalalithaa during her teenage years, Deepa Madhavan recollected how worried Jayalalithaa was when once she fainted while visiting her. Her aunt summoned doctors and took care of her so well. That showed me, "What we meant to her as family."
When asked about why Jayalalithaa kept their family at bay and never acknowledged them publicly, she said, "Even as Chief Minister, our aunt had called us home. Even for Diwali and Pongal but it was not meant for public. We spent time as a family. She didn't bring out in public also because she was scared."
Ms Madhavan, who had launched a political forum, disbanded it soon. When asked if she would fight elections in the future, she said," Only time will have to say."
With elections due next year, politically, the ruling AIADMK hopes the Jayalalithaa memorial project would help them enthuse party workers to slog for a third consecutive term, the first state election after Jayalalithaa's death. The party had suffered a rout in Lok Sabha polls as the DMK-Congress alliance swept the polls.