Illegitimate Child, Alleged Fraud: Thackeray Sons Battle Over Will

The property dispute in Mumbai’s most influential political family is out in the public domain. 

Updated
Politics
5 min read
A property dispute broke out after Bal Thackeray died in November 2012. Seen in the picture are supporters carrying his cut-out before his cremation. (Photo: Reuters)

Uddhav Thackeray’s elder brother Jaidev Thackeray recently made a jaw-dropping claim – that Aishwarya, the son from his former wife Smita, is not his child!

He has made 9 more shocking claims in the Bombay High Court. Most of these are allegations against Uddhav Thackeray:

'Balasaheb Was of Unsound Mind in 2011'



(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Jaidev Thackeray, Bal Thackeray’s second son, has challenged his father’s will which hands over much of the property to Uddhav. The will was signed in December 2011 and Thackeray senior died in November 2012. Jaidev claims that Bal Thackeray “was of an unsound mind at that time and had been influenced by Uddhav.”

'Uddhav Manipulated Balahsaheb's Will'

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Jaidev claims that he had a meeting with his father on 16 October 2011 where Balasaheb told him that he would get a share in the property. Jaidev also claimed that Balasaheb later told him that Uddhav handed him a set of documents and asked him to sign.

Essentially, he meant that Uddhav made Bal Thackeray sign the will without letting the latter know the contents of it.

Aishwarya Not My Son, Claims Jaidev!

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/NewsinMumbai">Mumbai News</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Mumbai News)

The matter turned murkier when Jaidev claimed that Aishwarya Thackeray, the son from his former wife Smita, was not his child.

During cross examination, he referred to Aishwarya as “some unknown person” who was occupying the first floor of Matoshree, their residence, that Bal Thackeray left Aishwarya in his will.

When Uddhav’s lawyer asked him if Aishwarya was his son, Jaidev said:

No, he is not. In fact, I wanted to set the record on Aishwarya’s paternity straight, but didn’t get a chance.
Jaidev Thackeray

Then Justice Gautam Patel announced that the rest of the deposition would be in-camera and would not be open for media and the public.

Bal Thackeray, in his will, left the first floor of Matoshree to Aishwarya so his mother Smita could visit him.

Nothing for Jaidev's Son Rahul Thackeray in the Will

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/bollywodcountry">Bollywood Country</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Bollywood Country)

Rahul, son of Jaidev and his former wife Smita, is not remembered at all in Bal Thackeray’s will. Rahul is in his late twenties and is making a Marathi biopic on Bal Thackeray, which his mother Smita Thackeray is producing.

'Balasaheb Didn't Like Smita's Involvement in Politics'

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/ieEntertainment">IE Entertainment</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/IE Entertainment)

Jaidev said he had no interest in politics, but his former wife Smita wanted to join it in 1994.

Smita’s political ambitions grew, especially after mother passed away in 1995. I tried telling Smita that she was neglecting our son Rahul and me and that it was not appropriate for her to interact with official visitors at home. Even Balasaheb didn’t like Smita’s involvement in politics. But she insisted that she wanted to pursue her career in politics.
Jaidev Thackeray, Bal Thackeray’s son

Jaidev told the court that he moved out of Matoshree in 1999 due to the growing rift between him and Smita. But Smita continued to live there until their divorce in 2004.

What Happened at 'Matoshree'?

Inside <i>Matoshree</i>, the residence of the Thackerays where, even today, no one sits on Bal Thackeray’s chair. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/NarendraSaxena4">Narendra Saxena</a>)
Inside Matoshree, the residence of the Thackerays where, even today, no one sits on Bal Thackeray’s chair. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Narendra Saxena)

When asked if he ever wanted to return to Matoshree, Jaidev said:

The question did not arise of my ever returning due to an incident in the family. I’m not in a position to disclose the incident in court or in public. But I can say the incident was not about my father.
Jaidev Thackeray, Bal Thackeray’s son

'Uddhav Removed My Name'

Jaidev alleged that Uddhav conspired to remove his name from the family ration card.

In 2005, someone came to me with a document for signature. I realised it was about removal of my name from the ration card. I asked who had sent it. He told me ‘Saheb’ had sent it. Assuming it was sent by Balasaheb, and as the messenger insisted on getting it signed, I signed it. 
Jaidev Thackeray, Bal Thackeray’s son

Jaidev added that he later called up his father, who denied having sent anyone. Jaidev said that despite such instances, he was trying to keep cordial relations with Uddhav, but Uddhav didn’t even return his phone calls.

'I Was Meant to Be Balasaheb's Political Heir'

Jaidev told the court that he had been close to his father since 1970s. He looked into his father’s affairs and travelled with him, so much so that Bal Thackeray had started looking at him as his political heir.

But I wasn’t comfortable as a politician is required to speak harshly even to his friend.
Jaidev Thackeray, Bal Thackeray’s son

Uddhav Was a Reluctant Politician

As a rare gesture, Raj Thackeray visited a photography exhibition of his cousin Uddhav in January 2015. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/singhvarun">Varun Singh</a>)
As a rare gesture, Raj Thackeray visited a photography exhibition of his cousin Uddhav in January 2015. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Varun Singh)

Jaidev claimed in his affidavit that Uddhav was into photography and not interested in politics. Jaidev is partly right as Uddhav Thackeray got into active politics only in the 1990s. Until then, many believed nephew Raj Thackeray would be Bal Thackery’s political heir as he was politically active, ambitious and delivered speeches in his uncle’s style.

Bindumadhav's Family Is out of 'Matoshree'

An old picture of Thackeray family. Standing from the left: Jaidev, Smita, Madhavi, Bindumadhav, Uddhav and Rashmi. Sitting: Bal and Mina Thackeray with their grandchildren. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://gossipkatta.com/facts-about-balasaheb-thackeray/">gossipkatta.com</a>)
An old picture of Thackeray family. Standing from the left: Jaidev, Smita, Madhavi, Bindumadhav, Uddhav and Rashmi. Sitting: Bal and Mina Thackeray with their grandchildren. (Photo Courtesy: gossipkatta.com)

In his affidavit, Jaidev told the court that Bindumadhav, Balasaheb’s eldest son was not interested in politics either. He was more interested in his business and the film industry. Bindumadhav was supposed to be given the first floor of Matoshree after reconstruction, but he wasn’t interested as he was already well settled elsewhere.

He would have meetings with people from the film industry while Matoshree had a political environment.
Jaidev Thackeray, Bal Thackeray’s son

After Bindumadhav’s death in a car accident in April 1996, his wife Madhavi left Matoshree with her daughter Neha and son Nihar.

Further cross-examination of Jaidev Thackeray is underway, but it’s in-camera and out of bounds for the media.

The Quint tried to get Uddhav Thackeray’s reaction but his office refused to comment.

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