India and Pakistan dispute over billions of rupees of the Nizam
Moin Nawaz Jung, finance minister of the court of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Usman Ali Khan Siddiqui, deposited a million pounds in the bank account of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain, which has increased 35 times today.
At that time, one million pounds (about 89 million rupees) transferred to the London bank account of Pakistan’s High Commissioner Habib Ibrahim Rahmatullah in the UK have now been raised to £ 350 million (about Rs 1.3 billion) and in his name Deposited into a NetWest bank account.
There has been tension between the system and the successors of the Pakistani High Commissioner for the money. The case is still pending in the Royal Court of Justice in London.
Justice Marcus Smith, who is hearing the case, has completed hearing the arguments of both parties and a decision on the matter is due in October this year.
Their decision will determine who will be entitled to this amount of £ 30 million.
The BBC tried to figure out the story of the ongoing legal battles and money transfers between the seventh system and Pakistan.
Story of Nizam of Hyderabad’s affiliation with India
India was liberated on August 15, 1947, but many states, including Hyderabad, the capital of the southern Indian state of Telangana, did not taste that day.
Hyderabad remained as an independent state under the monarchy until 17 September 1948. Subsequently, the imperial state was merged into India through a military operation called ‘Operation Polo’.
This story of a million pounds transfer dates back to the time when Hyderabad was annexed to India.
At that time, the seventh generation of Hyderabad Asaf Jahi dynasty was ruled by Nawab Mir Usman Ali Khan Siddiqui. At that time he was considered to be the richest man in the world.
“During Operation Polo, the finance minister of the state of Hyderabad intended to secure his money for about ten,” says Paul Hewitt, a law firm that represents the grandson of the seventh system. Millions of pounds have now been transferred to the Pakistani High Commissioner’s London bank account.
This money, which was transferred in 1948, later led to a legal battle between the seventh system and the successors of Pakistan.
The battle to get money back
Paul Hewitt explained: ‘As soon as the seventh system of Hyderabad came to know about the transfer of money, they asked Pakistan to refund them their money soon. But Rahmatullah refused to return the money and said that it is now Pakistan’s property.
Then in 1954, a legal battle between the seventh system and Pakistan began. The system approached the UK High Court to get its money back and began legal proceedings.
The case went to the High Court in favor of Pakistan and after that the system had to go to the appellate courts where the win was in favor of the system.
But then Pakistan went ahead and knocked on the door of the House of Lords, then the highest court in Britain. Pakistan was of the view that the system could not sue Pakistan because Pakistan is an independent country.
The House of Lords passed its decision in favor of Pakistan and accepted the argument that the system cannot take legal action against Pakistan. But with it, the House of Lords froze the controversial sum – £ 1 million.
Since then, the money transferred to the account of Pakistan High Commissioner Habib Ibrahim Rahmatullah is with the Net West Bank. According to the bank, the money can now only be given to the rightful heir after the court decision.
But with the increase in interest rates over the last 60 years, the amount that was a million pounds in 1948 has now increased to three and a half million pounds.
Over the past few years, negotiations have also tried to find a solution to the dispute, but no results have been obtained.
Government of India is also a party in this matter
The seventh system of Hyderabad passed away in 1967. But the legal battle to get the money back then continued and their successors pushed it forward.
Paul Hewitt joined the legal battle in 2013 when the Pakistani High Commissioner launched a lawsuit against the bank to withdraw money for Pakistan.
Thereafter, the bank was obliged to speak to all concerned parties claiming the money, including both the princes of the imperial system, including India.
Paul Hewitt says that the two princes recently discussed the issue with the Indian government, who had once even made their claim for the money.
So far no documents have been revealed regarding negotiations or agreements between the successors of the system and the Indian government.
The BBC tried to contact the successors of the system, but they refused to speak.
The arguments of Pakistan
The family said the money was sent to the Pakistani High Commissioner’s account to be kept safely during Operation Polo.
However, Pakistan’s view is that while Hyderabad was annexed to India in 1948, Pakistan had helped the former system greatly. This money was given as a gift to the people of Pakistan in return for the same assistance from the previous system and for that reason it is the right of Pakistan.
Paul Hewitt said: ‘In Pakistan in 2016, it was held that between 1947 and 48, arms were brought from Pakistan to Hyderabad, worth a million pounds.
Pakistan has so far provided two arguments in this regard. At first, he said it was a gift from Pakistan to the system and later said that the money was transferred in exchange for the purchase of weapons. The system argued that Pakistan did not present any evidence to prove both the arguments. And these two things are very contradictory. ‘
Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi, who represents Pakistan’s case, says he does not want to discuss the matter yet.
The BBC has a copy of the arguments submitted from Pakistan. According to the document: ‘The seventh system of Hyderabad was assisted by Pakistan and in return the money was transferred to Rahmatullah’s bank account to keep the money away from the hands of India.
“Pakistan provided arms to Pakistan for the seventh system so that Hyderabad could protect itself from the Indian invasion.”
According to this document, from September 20, 1948, the money is stored in Rahimullah’s London-based bank account.
I asked Paul Hewitt if there was no written agreement between the two sides before the transfer of money, Hewitt said, ‘The Seventh System has given an oath that they had no knowledge of the transfer. ‘
‘This evidence has not been challenged so far. This shows that at that time, his finance minister felt that he was earning some money for the future of the system and because of this agreement, Rahmatullah accepted to keep the money in his account. ‘
Paul Hewitt says, “When the seventh system came to know that they might never be able to get this money back in their lives, they formed a trust. He added the money to his trust and appointed two trustees. He announced that after him his successor would be his two grandchildren, the eighth system and his younger brother. So now there are only two people in this family line who will be entitled to this money. ‘
They say this is a very complex and historical issue to which they are directly linked.
BBC Telugu Service Representative Dipti Batheini spoke to Deccan Heritage Society chief Mohammed Safiullah about the issue.
Mohammed Safiullah says that from September 13 to September 17, 1948, the Indian government conducted an Operation Polo which was a completely military operation against the state of Hyderabad. The expedition consisted of about 40,000 soldiers from the Indian Army. On September 17, Hyderabad announced a unilateral ceasefire and agreed to join the Indian Union.
Safiullah believes that the entire amount of £ 350m should be divided equally between the three parties – the Government of India, the successor of the system and Pakistan.
‘Maybe this solution to this problem is acceptable to everyone!’