File photo: Saif Ali Khan. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Jabalpur high court to hear a petition by Dr Arif Mirza, a Lahore resident, who claimed that he was the legal heir of the property in Bhopal.
Mirza claims that his mother was the daughter of former Nawab Hamidullah, the great-grandfather of Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan and the last Nawab of Bhopal.
According to the impleadment application filed in the Court, Mirza seeks to be recognised as a legal heir of Nawab Hamidullah Khan, thereby allowing him to contest the claim on around 30 disputed properties worth crores of rupees.
However, the actor and his mother Sharmila Tagore have contested Mirza's claim in the court on the grounds that he was a Pakistani citizen and therefore not a legal heir, as per the Defence Rules and under the Enemy Property Rights Act. In their submissions, Khan alleged that his grandmother Nawab Sajida Begum is the "sole successor" to all properties — movable and immovable.
Responding to these claims, advocate Arjun Bobde submitted that even though his client Mirza lived in Pakistan, he was still an Indian citizen, DNA reported.
Mirza further clarified to DNA that though he was born in Nagpur, Maharashtra, he spent a significant amount of time in Bhopal. "I shifted to Lahore with my mother many years ago, and though my passport lapsed, I did not relinquish my Indian citizenship," Mirza said.
"I wanted to return home a long time ago," Mirza said, sitting in Bobde's office. However, Mirza's dream was realised when he was granted a white passport — an emergency one, after a two-year struggle. "It has been a very long time since I've seen my childhood home in Bhopal," Mirza said while reminiscing about his plans.
Mirza hopes to take his time settling in and focus on the age-old property dispute his late father Nasir Mirza was involved with. "First, I want to focus on the legal issues that I have to face, then perhaps, I don't know, I may pursue my Masters here," DNA quoted Mirza as saying.
Interestingly, Mirza and Saif's claim over the ancestral property in Bhopal is in danger after the Lok Sabha passed a long-pending Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, amending the Enemy Property Act (it prevents the successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during Partition from claiming properties left behind in India).