Saif Ali Khan caught in legal battle over Bhopal property dispute?

Saif Ali Khan is supposedly trying to save disputed ancestral property in Bhopal from being taken over by the government

Saif Ali Khan is apparently in the midst of a legal battle to save his ancestral properties in Bhopal from being confiscated by the government. For, the Union home ministry has initiated a process to vest control of properties of the former princely state under the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

Saif Ali Khan
Saif Ali Khan

Saif's grandmother Sajida Sultan had inherited the properties of Bhopal's last ruler, Nawab Hamidullah Khan in 1961 as her elder sister and heir apparent had migrated to Pakistan in 1950, a year after Bhopal State was merged with India.

"As Sajida was married to Iftikhar Ali Khan, the eighth Nawab of Pataudi, the properties came into the Pataudis' possession. The royal assets include palaces, cottages and farms spread across Bhopal, as well as Raisen and Sehore in Madhya Pradesh," says a source.

Later, Sajida's successorship was challenged in an Indian court by her mother and siblings as they staked claim to the Bhopal State properties and assets, now worth thousands of crores. In 1972, it was the fourth largest property dispute in India and the case is still pending.

The Office of the Custodian of Enemy Property (OCEP), a division of home ministry, initiated an investigation after the death of Saif's father, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. The OCEP maintains that since Sajida's elder sister, Abida, was supposed to be the successor, all her assets will be treated as enemy property and has, on paper, vested control over them. The vesting certificate was issued in February last week.

A source close to the actor says, "Saif has been busy proving that the Pataudis are successors to the erstwhile Bhopal State since last December. He was also asked to submit a copy of the missing merger agreement between the last ruling Nawab and Indian Union."

Saif Ali Khan was unavailable for response while Sharmila Tagore refused to comment on the matter.

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