Suraiya's Pakistani kin lays claim to her property

Days after actress Suraiya's death, her relative who emigrated to Pakistan four decades ago has laid claims to her assets.

The actress' cousin Mahfooz Ahmed, who left Mumbai for Pakistan in 1963, told newspapers here that he was laying claim to Suraiya's properties.

Apart from a sprawling rented flat at Marine Drive, the actress had left behind other properties at Worli in south central Mumbai and farmhouses and orchards in Lonavala outside Mumbai.

On Saturday, the Maharashtra government sealed the late actress' properties after her legal advisor Dhimant Thakar and his daughter moved into the Marine Drive flat.

The late actress' landlord Ashwin Shah had posted a notice at the door asking for claimants to come forward to claim continuance of tenancy.

The flat located at the sea-facing Krishna Mahal building on Marine Drive is valued at Rs. 17 million. The actress, whose family rented the place more than 70 years ago, used to pay a rent of Rs. 400 per month.

Suraiya had spent the last few months of her life at Thakar's house. Thakar's daughter Ami, a homoeopath, had looked after Suraiya in her last days.

Thakar told reporters that he had known Suraiya for decades and the actress was almost a family member.

The lawyer has now moved into the premises though he told reporters that he was only there to complete Suraiya's last rites.

The actress, who never married, died without leaving a will. Under the law, the flat would have reverted to the landlord.

After reports of the tiff between the landlord and Suraiya's lawyers appeared in the media, the Maharashtra government moved into seal all her properties on Saturday.

Suraiya, who was ailing, passed away on January 31.