An inheritance battle is brewing in the family of Kollywood veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan. Ganesan’s daughters Santhi Narayanasamy and Rajvi Govindarajan have filed a civil suit in the Madras High Court accusing their brothers – actor Prabhu and producer Ramkumar – of cheating them of their rightful inheritance, The Quint reported by exclusively accessing the plaint copy filed on 19 November 2021.
Which are the properties that are at the centre of the dispute? For starters, the daughters have estimated the cost of Ganesan's assets to be worth Rs 270.60 crore.
Ganesan, who passed away in 2001, was a superstar who had acted in nearly 300 films in languages including Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu, and Hindi. Ganesan's wife, Kamala, passed away in 2007.
They were survived by two sons – actor Prabhu and producer Ramkumar Ganesan – and two daughters – Santhi Narayanasamy and Rajvi Govindarajan.
Among other charges, the daughters have now accused the sons of "illegal sale" and "misappropriation of properties." Here are the list of assets on which Ganesan's daughters have staked equal claim, based on the Hindu Succession Act.
It is to be noted that The Quint has not independently verified the value of these properties. The list of assets and their value were compiled based on the plaint filed in the Madras High Court.
Hall of Disputed Assets – Part 1
As per the plaint, in the iconic Shanti Theaters Pvt Ltd, 50 shares were held in the name of Sivaji Ganesan and 650 shares were held in the name of Kamala Ganesan. Shanti Theaters is an iconic building at Chennai's Anna Salai.
In October 2021, according to the plaint, the daughters found out that the shares held by their parents in Shanti theatres, worth Rs 82 crore, were allegedly transferred to the sons. The daughter have alleged in their complaint that Akshaya Leisure Pvt. Ltd. was appointed as the agent of Shanti Theatres, without their knowledge.
Estimated value of the property: Rs 82,00,00,000
Estimated value of the daughters’ share: Rs 41,00,00,000
Agricultural land in Soorakkottai village in Thanjavur, measuring 16.73 acres, was registered under Kamala’s name.
Estimated value of property: Rs 2,00,00,000
Estimated value of daughters’ share: Rs 1,00,00,000
The daughters have argued that all four children are entitled to one fourth of the share of all assets. The sons, Prabhu and Ramkumar, are defendants in the case. Prabhu's son Vikram Prabhu and Ramkumar's son Dushyant Ramkumar, who are Tamil film actors, are also defendants.
As per the plaint, the daughters have clarified that all the contested assets were acquired and owned by their father as he had a “strong independent source of income.” They do not come under ancestral property, they have claimed.
Hall of Disputed Assets – Part 2
Ganesan purchased a property in Royapettah in 1954 and later made improvements here.
A villa, later named as ‘Annai Illam’ located in Thyagaraya Nagar was bought by Ganesan in August 1958. This is the house that Ganesan lived in with his family during his time. Prabhu and Ramkumar have been living here with their families, the plaint read.
The daughters have staked claim on both their properties.
In December 1961, Ganesan bought a property under his wife Kamala's name in Chennai’s Gopalapuram. He then entered a joint venture agreement with a builder and the old building was demolished and residential apartments called the ’Sivaji Enclave’ were constructed. Ganesan and his wife retained three flats in this complex. One of these flats was allegedly gifted to Prabhu, the plaint read.
Estimated value of the property: Rs 1,60,00,000
Estimated value of the daughters' share: Rs 80,00,000
Four houses in Royapettah, that span over 17,122 square feet was purchased in September 1956 by Ganesan. The daughters are residing in one of these houses. The other three properties are allegedly under the possession of the two sons who are allegedly receiving rents from the tenants. They had neglected to pay the share of the rental owned to the daughters despite repeated requests and demands on their behalf, the plaint read.
Estimated value of the property: Rs 20,00,00,000
Estimated value of the daughters' share: Rs 10,00,00,000
Hall of Disputed Assets – Part 3
Several lands, to the extent of 43 acres, in Manappakkam and Ramapuram were purchased by Ganesan in his name and in the name of family members “out of his own income without any support from the joint family,” the plaint read.
Estimated value of property: Rs 90,00,00,000
Estimated value of daughters’ share: Rs 45,00,00,000
The plaint claimed that Ganesan's assets also included 1,000 sovereigns of gold ornaments studded with diamonds and 500 kilos of silver utensils. After the demise of both the parents the jewels and vessels were taken by the two sons, the plaint alleged.
Estimated value of the property: Rs 10 crores
Estimated value of the daughters' share: Rs 5 crores
In a reply notice dated 11 October 2021, the sons stated that the movable properties including jewellery, shares in Shanti theatre Pvt Ltd and Shivaji films Pvt Ltd and bank deposits have been disbursed among the family members as per the Will of Ganesan. The daughters have now contested the Will.
Sons Claim They Merely Executed Ganesan's Will
In the plaint, Santhi Narayanasamy and Rajvi Govindarajan have accused their brothers of not intimating them about the sale of any of the properties. They claimed that after the death of their father, Ramkumar and Prabhu had told them that the properties will be “consolidated, maintained and developed” and the value will be shared equally among the heirs.
Under this pretext, the sons allegedly persuaded their sisters to sign a document styled as a ‘Deed of general power of attorney’ and also some blank papers. The daughters “were made to believe that the said papers and documents would be used for the consolidation and development of the properties of Sivaji Ganesan,” the plaint read.
The daughters “did not doubt the action of the sons who had a stronger bargaining capacity and were looking after the affairs and estates left by their parents,” read the plaint.
In November 2018, Ramkumar and Prabhu allegedly approached their sisters stating they had taken loans by pledging the Royapettah properties in the name of M/S Sivaji Productions. As per the plaint, the daughters allege that their brothers came “out with a scheme” and made them settle the property in favour of Prabhu who in turn passed it on to his son Vikram Prabhu in December 2018, read the plaint.
The daughters have made it clear that this property transfer was "not gift transactions brought about by natural love and affection.”
The daughters further alleged in the plaint that another property was sold on 30 October 2019 for Rs 75,00,000, to allegedly settle the liabilities of Ganesan's sons. The daughters also alleged that the properties in Ramapuram have been sold for several crores of rupees without their knowledge.
The Quint reached out to the the sons and daughters and haven't received a response yet. This article will be updated to include their response if they get back to The Quint.