The Bombay High Court stayed till December 17 the proceedings in a case of domestic violence against family members of Rajesh Khanna by a woman claiming to have been in a live-in relationship with the late superstar.
The proceedings in a Metropolitan Magistrate's Court at suburban Bandra were stayed by Justice KU Chandiwal, who issued notice to Anita Advani, the lady who claimed to have looked after the actor in the last few years of his life as a wife would do.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Mr Khanna's actress wife Dimple and actor son-in-law Akshay Kumar challenging the processes started by the magistrate against them and other family members. Twinkle and Rinki, Mr Khanna's daughters, are also in the process of filing similar petitions.
Anita Advani, in her complaint against Dimple and others, has claimed she was driven out of Khanna's Bandra bungalow Aashirwad after his death and sought maintenance from the actor's estate.
On the other hand, Dimple contended that she was the legally wedded wife of Mr Khanna and as such no other woman can claim share in the wealth left behind by her husband. The Magistrate, Dimple argued, should not have entertained the complaint which has made "baseless" charges. She contended that it was "unreasonable" for the Magistrate to even suggest that she and her family go in for a compromise with the complainant in which case he would refer the matter for mediation.
The Magistrate, while hearing Advani's complaint, had earlier last week issued summons to Dimple, her daughters Twinkle Kumar and Rinki Saran and son-in-law Akshay Kumar asking them to appear in person before the court to answer the allegations, which besides domestic violence includes forging Khanna's will.
Akshay Kumar supported Dimple's contention that Advani had no right to claim any share from Khanna's properties which is said to be to the tune of Rs 500 crores.
Anita Advani had in her complaint sought monthly maintenance of Rs 10 lakh from the properties of Khanna and entry into his bungalow where she claimed to have lived with him for several years as "husband and wife" although they never married. Both Dimple and Akshay said when Advani had herself mentioned in the complaint that she had been evicted from Aashirwad a number of times in the past, why did she not file a complaint of domestic violence then.
"The fact that she chose to move the court nearly three months after Khanna's death shows that her only intention was to grab property," they contended.
Both rejected Advani's charge that they had taken the thumb impression of Khanna on his will a few days before his death when the actor was seriously ill and not capable of understanding anything. Their petitions said the will had been duly probated. The duo challenged Advani's claim that she was in a "domestic relationship" with Mr Khanna in a "shared household". They referred to a letter written by Advani to their family two days before Khanna's death in which she had not written anything about such a relationship.
"Her letter said that Mr Khanna had only pursued her to be his girlfriend," their petitions said.