Amrit Kaur, 80, the eldest daughter of the late Maharajah of Faridkot, was
cut off without a penny when a will leaving her father's £2.6billion
estate to a small group of her father's advisers was made public in the
wake of his death in 1989.
Billionaire: Amrit Kaur, seen left with her father in India as a young woman, and right today holding a portrait of
the late Maharajah of Faridkot, said she knew from 'day one' the court
would rule in her favour
'I will think about it when I get the money,' Ms Kaur told the economictimes.com.
Despite having endured a two-decade legal battle over her father's fleet of
properties, luxury cars and millions in gold and jewels, the grandmother
said she knew from 'day one' the case would go her way.
'My father was a very loving and caring man towards all of us,' she said.
'I knew he could never write such a foolish will.'
Her long-held belief was finally
vindicated by the court in the northwestern city of Chandigarh on
Saturday, as it ruled the late Maharajah's 200-billion-rupee estate
should go to his daughters, as opposed to the trust run by his servants
and palace officials named in the suspect will.
Long battle: Ms Kaur smiles for the camera with her daughter Gurveen at
her home in Chandigarh today, after a court ruled the former Maharajah's
daughters should inherit his estate
'Loving and caring': Amrit, seen left as a little girl, has said she knew her father, right, could never have
written such a 'foolish' will
Chief judicial magistrate Rajnish Kumar Sharma, in the northern city of
Chandigarh, finally gave his ruling on the case filed by the maharaja's
eldest daughter, Amrit Kaur, in 1992, a court official said Monday.
The court official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The Faridkot riches were legend in India's Punjab state. The estate
includes a 350-year-old fort, palaces and forests lands in Faridkot, a
mansion surrounded by acres of land in the heart of India's capital New
Delhi and similar properties spread across four states.
Determined: Amrit Kaur filed a court action in 1992 calling the will made public after her father's death into question
Reminiscing: Ms Kaur looks on as her daughter Gurveen and lawyer Manjit
Singh Khaira leaf through old photograph albums filled with pictures of
her late father
There is also a stable of 18 cars including a Rolls Royce, a Daimler and a Bentley, all in running condition.
In addition, there is an aerodrome in
Faridkot, spread over 200 acres, which is being used by the Punjab state
administration and the army.
There is also more than 10billion rupees (£110million) worth of gold, jewelry studded with diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
The royal's two daughters will now inherit a vast fortune, including Faridkot House on Copernicus Marg in New Delhi
An Indian man walks past the premises of the Faridkot House complex in
New Delhi on the day the court ruled that the daughters of a late
maharajah should inherit his estate
Brar himself was a boy-king who grew up
amid the final gasps of India's royal families. He was crowned maharajah
of the tiny kingdom of Faridkot in western Punjab - the last maharajah
it would turn out - at the age of three, upon his father's death.
After India won independence from Britain in 1947, Faridkot and hundreds of
other small kingdoms were absorbed into the country, royal titles and
power were abolished and the royal families were given a fixed salary
from the Indian government. That payment, the 'privy purse', was
abolished in 1971.
Riches: Brar, left, and his wife, Maharani Narinder Kaur, right, liked to stay at the luxury Savoy hotel while
shopping in London during holidays to England
Some royals slipped into penury, while some converted their former palaces into luxury hotels to provide them an income.
A few, like Brar, held onto their enormously profitable real estate and continued to live a rarefied life.
But in 1981, Brar's only son, Tikka
Harmohinder Singh, was killed in a road accident and he tumbled into a
deep depression. It was then, his three daughters' argued, that his
trusted aides connived to deprive his family of their fortune.
They set up the Meharawal Khewaji Trust, naming all the maharajah's servants, officials and lawyers as trustees.
A short time after Brar's death in 1989, a will leaving all his wealth to
the trust became public. The two younger princesses, Deepinder Kaur and
Maheepinder Kaur, were given monthly salaries of $20 and $18
Brar's wife, mother and oldest daughter - the presumed heir - were cut off without a penny.
The trust told the court that Amrit Kaur had been shunned by her father for marrying against his wishes.
Kaur told the court that her father had never made a will and that she had remained with him until his death.
In the two decades that it has taken for
the court to give its ruling, much has changed. The value of the estates
has increased manifold.
The New Delhi properties alone are worth
about £230million. One of his daughters, Maheepinder Kaur, died. Amrit
and Deepinder are in their 80s.
The family's lawyer, Vikas Jain, told
India's Financial Express newspaper that some of the fortune had been
squandered away during the long case.
The trust is weighing a challenge to the Chandigarh court order in a higher court, news reports said Monday.
'The will was real and it was not forged.
The trust, after going through the order in detail, could challenge it
in an upper court,' Ranjit Singh, a lawyer for the trust, was quoted as
telling The Times of India newspaper.