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Jadhav to Hyderabad Fund case: How Harish Salve won it for India twice


New Delhi, Oct 03: For India, it was the second high profile win over Pakistan and in both cases, it was senior advocate, Harish Salve who is behind the victory.

Salve represented India in both the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in the International Court of Justice and the Hyderabad Fund case in the UK High Court. In the case of Pakistan, the country was represented by Khawar Qureshi.

File photo of Harish Salve

The High Court of England and Wales ruled in India's favour and the two descendants of the late 7th Nizam of Hyderabad, who had sent 1 million pounds to a London in 1948.

Kashmir integral part of India, Article 370 was a mistake: Harish SalveKashmir integral part of India, Article 370 was a mistake: Harish Salve

Pakistan had claimed that the money on the ground was a payment for supplying arms to the state of Hyderabad during the annexation in 1948. The Nizam had transferred the money to the then Pakistan ambassador in London for safekeeping. The amount continued to remain in the National Westminster Bank in London. The amount today is estimated at 35 million pounds.

The finance minister of Hyderabad had in 1948 transferred 1 million pounds to the Westminster Bank. It was transferred to the bank account of Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, who was then Pakistan's High Commissioner in London. The bank is now known as the NatWest Bank.

The then Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan said that he had no knowledge about the money transfer. It was done without my approval he had said. The money has since then been frozen and is popularly known as the Hyderabad Fund.

Mir Osman Ali Khan, his grandsons, Muffakham Jahidul, Mukarram Jahidul, members of the Nizam family are the claimants. India is also a claimant after it entered into a pact with the Nizam's family. Pakistan too is a claimant and hence the case in the UK High Court.

The first claimants were Mir Osman Ali Khan and Pakistan. India also claimed the money after the Nizam assigned the claim to the President of India in 1956. The Hyderabad Fund would be distributed between the Nizam's legal heirs and the Indian Government.

During the arguments, Pakistan claimed that it was a payment made by the erstwhile princely state to Pakistan for arming Hyderabad when it was about to be invaded by India.

I owe you Re 1, Sushma told India’s ICJ lawyer Salve, hours before deathI owe you Re 1, Sushma told India’s ICJ lawyer Salve, hours before death

In 1954, the state of Hyderabad and the 7th Nizam issued a writ before the UK high court against Pakistan and Rahimtoola asking for the money to be returned. The writ was set aside on the ground that the courts in England were interfering with Pakistan's sovereign immunity. Since then the money has remained frozen.

In 2013, Pakistan tried to bring action against the bank. However, the bank said that there were two other claimants.

After the verdict, Salve said that Pakistan had issued a discontinuance notice, but India argued that the same was not in the interests of justice to withdraw the case.

The court said that although the Government of Hyderabad was involved in the purchase of weapons in order to resist what the Nizam saw as attempts by India to forcibly annex Hyderabad, and although the second account was used to pay for some of these weapons, the court does not consider that the transfer had anything to do with the purchase of the weapons or the compensation of Pakistan for the purchase of weapons.

'Gratified as a lawyer', says Harish Salve on ICJ's verdict in Jadhav case'Gratified as a lawyer', says Harish Salve on ICJ's verdict in Jadhav case

"It is appropriate to record that the Nizam's successor in the title can be no-one other than the Princes or India...I have seen no hint of the possibility of any further claimant to the Fund, beyond the Princes and India, the judge also said.

"In these circumstances, Nizam VII was beneficially entitled to the Fund and those claiming in right of Nizam VII - the Princes and India - are entitled to have the sum paid out to their order. I will leave it to the parties to frame an appropriate form of order for my approval," the court also ruled.

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