London, March 23 – In a setback to Pakistan, a UK court has directed it to pay 150,000 pounds to India as legal fees in the 67-year-old Hyderabad Funds case involving the Nizam’s money while terming Pakistan’s behaviour as “unreasonable”.
Holding that Pakistan has no “sovereign immunity” in the case, the Judge ordered the Pakistan High Commissioner in London to pay the legal costs incurred by the other respondents in the case relating to the ‘Hyderabad Funds’ which is currently valued at 35 million pounds.
It is understood that the legal costs of the respondents – Government of India, the National Westminster Bank & the Nizam’s heirs Mukkaram Jah & Muffakham Jah – are approx 400,000 pounds. Of this India has been paid 150,000 pounds, the National Westminster Bank 132,000 pounds and the Nizam’s heirs about 60,000 pounds each respectively.
The immunity waiver under the verdict, which has opened the doors for India to recover the frozen funds through legal process, is irrevocable. It is also reliably understood that the Indian government and the heirs of Nizam were holding consultations on the subject.
This case, known as the ‘Hyderabad Funds Case’, relates to transfer of 1,007,940 pounds and 9 Shillings to a London bank account in the name of the High Commissioner in the UK for the then newly formed state of Pakistan, Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, at the Westminster Bank (now Natwest) in 1948.
The money was transferred by an agent who appeared to be acting on behalf of the absolute ruler of one of the largest and richest of the Indian princely states, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad.