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HC admits Nina Pillai's petition for compensation
December 06, 2005 01:04 IST
The Delhi High Court on Monday admitted a writ petition filed by Nina Pillai, wife of 'Biscuit King' Rajan Pillai, seeking compensation from the State for his custodial death in New Delhi in July 1995.
The petition was admitted by Justice Vikramjit Sen after counsel for the petitioner assured the court that the compensation, if awarded, would be utilised solely for rehabilitating widows whose husbands had faced similar custodial deaths in the country.
The petition was filed in 1998 by Nina Pillai, widow of the Singapore-based business tycooon, as the government had accepted the Leila Seth Enquiry Commission report on the circumstances leading to Rajan Pillai's death.
The counsel for the State questioned the maintainability of the petition, on the ground that the Commission did not hold the state responsible for the death.
The state argued that Rajan Pillai died due to excessive drinking and improper medical treatment, but not due to custodial torture as alleged.
During the course of the arguments, when Justice Sen himself wondered about the maintainability of the petition for the monetary compensation, as the deceased was a 'billionaire', the petitioner's senior counsel Aryama Sundaram and Manali Singhal assured the court that in the event of any award of compensation, it would be diverted to a charity trust.
This trust would utilise the award amount for taking up welfare activities on behalf of those women whose husbands had succumbed to similar custodial death like Pillai, he said.
Pillai's lawyer argued that his client was entitled to the compensation as the state had admitted its liability by initiating disciplinary action against the officials named by the Commission for causing the death.
The court also agreed to hear a petition filed by Pillai's 73-year-old mother who wanted to be further heard in the case.
Rajan Pillai was arrested in New Delhi on July 3, 1995, in an extradition-related case for an alleged corporate offence in Singapore. While in judicial custody at Tihar jail, he was shifted to the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital due to health problems, where he succumbed.
The government at that time constituted an enquiry commission to probe the death and fix responsibility on the persons if found responsible for the death.