Nizam's jewellery: taxing problem for descendants

A file photo of jewellery from the Nizam's Collection.

A file photo of jewellery from the Nizam's Collection.  

Money can't buy happiness and can sometimes bring in a host of problems. Who knows it better than the Nizam's family members? Their joy of a windfall from the sale of Nizam's jewellery has been short-lived.

Ever since the trade-off with the government of India, the family has got embroiled in litigation with the Income Tax Department. At the centre of the controversy is the lifting of lien over certain amounts. There is a dispute over payment of tax dues running into crores of rupees.

The Nizam Family Welfare Association, however, claims to have already cleared all dues.

The family has sought the intervention of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, to resolve the tax matters pending for the last one decade. Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, grandson of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, recently met Mr. Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum in this regard. The latter promised to do justice, said Mr. Khan, who is also the association president.

The fabulous jewels of the Nizam were acquired by the government of India in 1995 for Rs.206 crore after a prolonged legal battle. Proceeds of the sale were apportioned among the beneficiaries according to their specified share. Of the 16 sons and 18 daughters of the Nizam, there are now two sons and three daughters besides 104 grandchildren.

The Income Tax Department raised a total demand of Rs.30.5 crore towards arrears of Income Tax and Wealth Tax together with interest. However, following an agreement, the Trustees paid a tax of Rs.15.45 crore and deposited the balance amount of Rs.14.05 crore in fixed deposit as lien.

After several representations, the department released Rs.4 crore in 2004 and Rs.66 lakh in 2006. Still a sum of Rs. 9 crore remains over which the department has a lien.

Mr. Khan is trying to reconcile the tax files of the Nizam family in order to arrive at the correct figure of arrears of each beneficiary. “Reconciliation showed that in most cases there are no tax arrears. In fact, refunds are due to some beneficiaries,” says Mr. Khan.

“The condition of some of the family members is pathetic and they need the money urgently,” says Mr. Khan.

Recommended for you