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Princess gets school fees, not palace

Hyderabad, June 26: The pony-tailed Turkish princess who came knocking at a Hyderabad family court’s door will be able to pay her school fees.

The judge has upheld her mother Manolya Onur’s claim for maintenance ' and a lot more ' from former husband Prince Mukkaram Jah, the eighth Nizam.

The 14-year-old princess, Niloufer II, has reason to feel a little disappointed, though. Manolya couldn’t secure the sprawling Chiron Palace in the Jubilee Hills ' the mansion where Niloufer grew up before being sent to an English boarding school in Turkey, her mother’s homeland, nine years ago.

The judge allowed Manolya, a former Miss Turkey who became the playboy Nizam’s third wife, a mehr of $700,000 (Rs 3.2 crore) as well as a combined monthly maintenance and rent allowance of $15,000 (Rs 6.9 lakh), half of which goes to Niloufer.

Mukkaram Jah ' “Tony” to his friends in London and Sydney where he spends most of his time ' must also repay the $300,000 (Rs 1.4 crore) he had borrowed from Manolya before the wedding.

Finally, mother and daughter get Rs 4 crore from the sale of the Nizam’s famed jewel collection ' some of which was sold to the Indian government and the rest auctioned.

The entire amount comes with 6 per cent yearly interest, calculated from 1995, the year the couple separated.

The young princess in jeans, however, had said right at the outset she wasn’t bothered about all that ' what worried her was that an unfavourable verdict could mean she would have to leave boarding school.

“I am here to demand my school fees from the courts,” she had told reporters in her clear schoolgirl’s voice.

A concerned judge has asked Jah to immediately pay her the $28,000 (Rs 13 lakh) she owes her school in dues.

The disappointment over the palace, though, will linger for some time. “I would love to have it,” the princess had said of the mansion where she was born and where she had been refused entry during a trip to the city two years ago. “I grew up there for almost six years.”

The reason she couldn’t have it was simple: the Nizam doesn’t own the Rs 300-crore property any more. He has handed it over to the state forest department to build a natural park around it, in exchange for six acres in the neighbourhood.

The palace with over 40 rooms had once been a byword for architectural splendour and luxurious living. “In the driveway itself you would have come across several parked Rolls Royces,” said a senior police officer who used to be a regular visitor to the mansion.

Sadruddin Jhaveri and his wife, former custodians of the Nizam’s estate, were at the court with Manolya and Niloufer on Saturday to hear judge Radhakrishnaiah deliver his in-camera verdict.

“The Chiron Palace is very close to the heart of Princess Niloufer II. The Nizam had promised the palace to her but, as usual, went back on his word,” Jhaveri said. “This is the first home of the child. She had a right to stay in the house of her father.”

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