23-yr-old battle over Gaekwad inheritance likely to be settled

The king-size battle over the inheritance of the royal Gaekwad property of the erstwhile state of Baroda appears to be drawing towards a settlement. Samarjitsinh Gaekwad, who was coronated as the Maharaja of Vadodara in June 2012, after the demise of his father Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad last year, is likely to ink a deal with his uncle Sangramsinh Gaekwad to end the 23-year battle that has soured the illustrious legacy left behind by Maharaja Sayajirao III Gaekwad.

According to sources in the Laxmi Vilas Palace, a compromise between the two factions of the Gaekwad family is in the offing, with the division of the wealth being worked out. However, observers of the compromise say, the deal is treading on a thin line with the actual property of Laxmi Vilas Palace being kept out of the compromise formula. Palace insiders say that out of the family property worth about Rs 10,000 crore, that has been under dispute between the late Maharaja Ranjitsinh and his younger brother Sangramsinh, the latter has been offered the white Nazarbag palace in Mandvi, Ashok bungalow, Indumati Mahal and Bakul bungalow at Rajmahal Road, two family lands near Makarpura Air Force, a plot in Sama as well as Padakhana Varasiya road in the city. An insider says, "The compromise will mean that the litigations and court cases will come to an end and both parties will be free to use their properties the way they like." While the worth of the properties runs into several thousand crores, the exact market value of the properties cannot be estimated owing to their historical significance. Experts say that even if the deal is inked, whoever retains the possession of the properties will be unable to use it without the approval of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that protects the royal heritage.

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