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Red face over Rajmata bills
Vijayaraje Scindia

Bhopal, May 28: Three daughters — a former chief minister, an MP and the wife of a powerful Nepalese Rana — and a grandson who is a Union minister but likes to be addressed as maharaja have not been able to pay off Rs 6.52 lakh that the late Vijayaraje Scindia owes BSNL.

Yesterday, the district and sessions court judge Laxmi Sharma passed strictures asking Usharaje, Vasundhararaje and Yashodhararaje to clear their mother’s telephone bill, causing acute embarrassment to the erstwhile royals in pocket borough Gwalior.

By a conservative estimate, the House of Scindias are valued at Rs 20,000 crore.

The judge rejected a petition moved by the Scindia sisters that the outstanding bill should be written off as Vijayaraje’s will had not been executed because of a dispute over her legal heir.

Dilip Awasthi, who appeared for BSNL, said the judge has asked the Scindia sisters to pay the bill as they are Vijayaraje’s natural inheritors.

“The court also asked them to pay 12 per cent interest along with the original bill of Rs 6.52 lakh,” Awasthi said, adding that BSNL has been trying to recover the dues since 2002.

Although Union minister of state for commerce and industry, Jyotiraditya Scindia, was not a petitioner, his name had figured along with his three aunts in an award passed by arbitrator P. Singh in June 2006.

Vijayaraje’s aide Sardar Angre, who died in 2008, had estimated the family’s wealth at over Rs 30,000 crore, including estates and companies. “I have personally helped Rajmata prepare the inventory of all their movable and immovable assets which runs into 500 pages. The fortune left behind by the Rajmata is fantastic,” he once said, adding he had had several opportunities to view her jewellery vault.

A former BJP vice-president, Vijayaraje was MP from Guna in the 10th Lok Sabha (1991-96) and the 11th Lok Sabha (1996-98) when telephone bills at her New Delhi and Bhopal homes shot up. The Lok Sabha secretariat refused to pay the entire amount, saying her telephone expenses were beyond her entitlement. When Vijayaraje died in January 2001, the bills remained unpaid.

Her will is being examined in a probate case by Delhi High Court.

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