CHENNAI: After entering Veda Nilayam on Friday, an emotional J Deepa, niece of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, claimed the house had changed since her last visit nearly 12 years ago. Deepa and her brother J Deepak visited their aunt’s home in the posh Poes Garden locality after receiving its keys from Chennai District Collector J Vijaya Rani.
The Madras High Court recently ordered the State to hand over the keys to the siblings. The court had also recently granted the Income Tax department two weeks to bring on record the names of the siblings, as Jaya’s legal heirs, in the tax arrears case pending against the leader.
“For the first time, I am entering the house without her there. I really feel bad,” Deepa told reporters after spending nearly four hours at the residence. Claiming she knew her aunt had very good taste in interior design, Deeepa said the aesthetic appearance of the house was lost. Jaya’s room seemed to have shrunk in size. “I wondered how my aunt lived in such a small house,” she said, claiming the residence is not fit for living.
“Words fail us in expressing our feelings. We never expected such a turning point. The soul of our aunt will rest in peace now. There were voices that said I should not step into the house. Now, I have received that right. It is because of our aunt’s blessings,” Deepa said. She further said she has many memories of the house, having spent most of her childhood there. “But many photos of my aunt are not there. Even photos of her pets are missing,” she said.
The late CM had to pay Rs 16.75 crore as income tax arrears, for the assessment year of 1990-91 to 2011-12 and the period between 2005-06 and 2011-12. In 2017, I-T officials searched two rooms at Veda Nilayam and a prohibitory order was imposed on the rooms. It was later withdrawn.