Phoolan's property: everyone wants an unearned piece of pie
New Delhi, August 1
The dispute over Phoolan's property has finally been hung out to dry in public. Many in her immediate family have an eye on the good chance. Phoolan's wealth is valued at - at a minimum - Rs 10 crore, and her two heirs (sister Munni Devi and husband Umed Singh) have their long knives out against each other.
Umed Singh, besieged by accusations of usury as much as a resurgent post-mortem uxoriousness, hurriedly announced that what he calls "the family" has decided to form a trust - from both movable and immovable property - that will work for the uplift of suppressed people. But his flash announcement plays no chords of amity amongst Phoolan's sister and mother. Munni Devi, outspoken and grieving, believes that Umed Singh will use the proposed trust to corner all of Phoolan's wealth. Her relatives demand that Umed Singh should not have anything to do with the trust, and that the board carry their names instead.
And Umed Singh is not making it any easier for himself: following Phoolan's murder, the spotlight is on him, and his attempts to keep it trained right there are blunt and brazen. But he is being knocked around by questions of whether he really is the legal husband of Phoolan.
A source in the police told tehelka.com, "Umed Singh forced himself into Phoolan's house in 1995 - all her relatives were dead set against him. Umed Singh apparently got in touch with Phoolan when she was about to copyright her life story. Phoolan never recognised Umed as her husband. She has always wanted him out of the house."
Munni Devi told tehelka.com, "Umed never married Phoolan. There is no record of Phoolan marrying Umed, and they have never had any document certifying their marriage. In fact, Phoolan did not want Umed staying in their house. He forced himself into the house."
For someone who came from the crucible of desperate poverty, Phoolan's property is substantial. She owned a farmhouse in Bhangel village near Noida, a house in Chittaranjan