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Wednesday, 11 November 2020

CBI to look into ‘house with many tales’

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10

Nestled close to Sukhna Lake against the backdrop of the lower Himalayas is posh Sector 5 with just about 80 sprawling bungalows on palatial plots. But one house in the lush green neighbourhood has more than a few tales and contradictions that the Central Bureau of Investigation will now look into following an order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

For people who have been in the city since long, the house belonged to the father of Bollywood star of the bygone era Vera Sunder Singh, aka Priya Rajvansh, of the "Heer Raanjha" fame.

Stated to be born and brought up in Shimla, Priya Rajvansh eventually landed in Bombay for pairing opposite stars like Raaj Kumar, Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna. She is believed to have spent little time in the six-kanal house, now estimated to be worth Rs30 crore.

The fact that the house was owned by her father Sunder Singh is one of the few actualities that is not in dispute. Another fact the parties to the dispute do not contradict is that Sunder Singh died in January 1986.

One of the several versions placed before the judicial courts is that Sunder Singh executed a will in September 1984, according to which Vera Sunder Singh and her brother Kanwal Sunder Singh were to get 50 per cent share each. Her other brother Padamjit Singh was excluded. However, Vera died in March 2000 after executing a will for dividing her share equally among her brothers.

One of the other versions is that Padamjit Singh became the owner of 50 per cent share through natural succession after the death of Sunder Singh and Vera, who bequeathed her share in favour of her brothers.

The present dispute that eventually led to the CBI probe has its genesis in a petition, "Padamjit Singh versus Chandigarh Administration and others". The matter came under judicial spotlight after Padamjit Singh claimed that the petition was filed without "his consent or without having any power of attorney from him".

In the petition, directions were sought to the respondents to maintain status quo regarding transfer/mutation of his 50 per cent share in the house. His contention is that the petition was filed by impersonating him after forging and fabricating his signatures to "halt mutation in favour of Pritam Kaur to the extent of 50 per cent share".

The dispute as of now is between Padamjit Singh, Kanwal Sunder Singh's wife Mary Singh and Chandigarh resident Pritam Kaur, whom Padamjit Singh allegedly sold his share of the plot.

In an affidavit, UK resident Mary Singh has stated that she had been in touch with Padamjit Singh in February and next month they discussed filing objections before the Estate Office against "misuse of his personal documents for obtaining transfer of his share by Peshaura Singh Thind (Pritam Kaur's husband) and others. Mary also stated that she had a telephonic discussion with Padamjit Singh. During discussions with her lawyer, he confided he had not received the actual money/sale consideration for his share till date in the USA.

Mary has alleged that "Padamjit Singh has either resolved his financial issues with the Thind family and is just trying to wriggle out of the situation denying the filing of the writ petition or he is under apparent pressure from these persons to contradict his own stand at this stage". The CBI will now submit its report in a sealed cover by February 26 next.

from The Tribune

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