Was the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan, secretly transferring money abroad to help arm his soldiers to take on the Indian Army in 1948?
So it appears, say those in the know of things, interestingly , referring to the million pounds (a staggering Rs 322 crore now) lying locked in the vaults of the Westminster Bank (now Natwest) in London that’s embroiled in the infamous `Hyderabad Funds’ case.
They say that the money was transferred from coffers of the Seventh Nizam to buy rifles for the beleaguered ruler.
The pages of history suggest that the Nizam’s finance minister, through an agent, had transferred 1,007,940 pounds and 9 shillings to a London bank account in the name of the then High Commissioner of the newly formed state of Pakistan in the UK, Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola. This transaction, sources claimed, was completed as part of a `secret deal’ between the two to purchase 1,00,000 .303 rifles for strengthening the NIzam’s forces back home so that they could withstand the might of the Indian Army .
“The Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, was sure of an impending attack by the nascent Indian Union to annex Hyderabad state. He was ill-prepared for a physical showdown and hence kept pending the issue of merger, either with Pakistan or India, or declaration of independence. His idea was to buy enough time from the Indian Union so that he could arm his forces well,“ Deccan Heritage Trust managing trustee, Mohd Safiullah, who has three PhDs on the Nizam’s family and governance, told INNLIVE.
However, before the Nizam could get his supplies of rifles, then Union home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel launched `Police Action’ and annexed the Hyderabad state. Ever since, the `Hyderabad Funds’ case has been haunting the sub-continent and Pakistan has been laying claim to the money .Their argument: it was deposited in the account of its High Commissioner.
If that’s not all, even the Nizam’s heirs have been seeking a share in the `fat’ corpus.Now, adding a fourth claimant to the list, the Telangana government has jumped into the fray and is believed to be seeking the entire amount for itself.
In fact, the chief minister’s office (CMO) has even asked the principal secretary (revenue) to track the issue on “top priority“ basis. In turn, principal secretary , Jagir Ad ministration & Land Acquisition (JA&LA), B R Meena, has sent an official communiqué to the Hyderabad district collectorate to submit a detailed report on the issue.
“As the legal fight is between two countries (India and Pakistan) and the Nizam family , I don’t think Telangana will immediately benefit from it. Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has to take a serious initiative to bring the Hyderabad Funds to the state,“ Safiullah said, stressing that records, bank receipts of the transfer of Hyderabad Funds to Westminster Bank were with the Deccan Heritage Trust.
The Hyderabad collectorate, however, isn’t so confident. While it has, as per instructions, started verifying records, sources there say it might be unable to find all records pertaining to the sixdecades-old case as most documents are with private trusts and heirs of the last Nizam.“We do not have any official records, receipts or documents of the Nizam administration. We will contact the Nizam’s heirs to get the necessary information,“ said one of them.
At the international level, Pakistan recently suffered two setbacks in their fight for the funds. Firstly , the High Court of Justice in London ruled that Pakistan no longer had sovereign immunity over the State of Hyderabad’s wealth. Also, the court directed Pakistan to pay 1,50,000 pounds to India as legal fees in the 67-year-old case.#KhabarLive