Relatives of popular southern actress Soundarya, who died in a plane crash in 2004, are fighting a legal battle over her property, which is estimated to be worth Rs 50 crore.
Soundarya was campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Andhra Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha elections when her plane crashed on April 17 and she died along with her brother Amarnath.
Her mother KS Manjula and her ex-husband GS Raghu are on one side, while her sister-in-law Nirmala, widow of Amarnath, and her son Sathvik on the other.
The late actress reportedly left a will and as per its contents, Soundarya owned six properties, besides gold ornaments and other assets.
According to sources, the will reportedly bequeathed a house to Sathvik. Another house, which was being constructed then, is a joint property of her mother, brother's family and her family.
The income from the property in Hyderabad was to be divided equally between her mother, brother and his family and her husband and children, it said.
The other two properties are bequeathed to her husband and children.
The legal battle started when Amarnath's son Sathvik approached a court saying his right to own property were thwarted by his grandmother who was not honouring Soundarya's will.
The matter got worse and both the parties filed complaints in a police station here.
Advocate Dhanraj, counsel for Soundarya's sister-in-law, has filed a defamation suit against Manjula and Raghu for defaming his clients in a police complaint filed in Sadhashivanagar Police Station alleging that the will executed in 2003 was forged.
The local court accepted his petition for defamation Monday and summoned Manjula and Raghu for a hearing Nov 2.
Confirming that a defamation suit had been filed, Dhanraj told IANS: "Raghu and Manjula had alleged that the will presented in the court has been forged by him."
He said he filed the suit for deliberately trying to malign him and his clients.
"I have no role in the preparation or execution of the will, but I am only fighting on behalf of my clients. To cast aspersions on my professional standing would be setting a bad precedent," said Dhanraj.
Manula and Raghu refused to answer queries with regard to the cases filed against them.
Soundarya tied the knot with Raghu, a software engineer and a relative, in 2003. But within a year she died in the crash. Raghu has since remarried, but he has joined Soundarya's mother to fight for the possession of the property.
Soundarya, daughter of Kannada film writer and director Sathyanarayan, had an humble beginning and started with Kannada films, but within a few years she was able to rule the southern film industry and worked with top stars like Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna, Vishnuvardhan, Ramesh Arvind, Venkatesh and Mohanlal.
She had also acted with legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan in the Hindi film 'Suryavansham'.