Hyderabad: Notices issued to King Kothi palace owners on demolition

Hyderabad: Taking cognizance of reports pertaining to the alleged demolition of th historic King Kothi palace (Nazri Bagh), special chief secretary (municipal administration and urban development) Arvind Kumar on Sunday said that all owners of the site have been served notices to not alter/level or make any changes to the site.

Kumar on twitter also wrote that the city police has been asking to keep vigil. His response came after photos and videos of the reported demolition were posted on social media, where it could be seen that some kind of changes were made to the Nazri Bagh (the only remaining part of the King Kothi palace) by Neeharika Infrastructure, the real estate company which took the property into its custody fully after purchasing its from the Nazri Bagh Palace Trust.

“Clarification The #KingKoti palace is a Notified Heritage structure & can’t be altered/modified /demolished without prior permission from GHMC” Its in civil dispute. All said owners are served notices not to alter/ level/ do anything Police is asked to maintain vigil,” wrote Arvind Kumar, a day after news of the demolition broke.

It has been learnt that the GHMC sent its officials to the King Kothi Palace to inspect what is going on there. However, those aware of the developments say that the Nazri bagh has not been touched, and that only the grass was cleared in the premises.

The heritage site is where the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, lived, ruled and died. Nazri Bagh is a notified heritage building, classified as II-B category under the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority’s Regulation 13, which protects historical monuments.

The Osman Mansion and Purdah gate, two other parts of the palace, were lost much earlier. Last week, tension prevailed at the historic King Kothi palace when over 100 goons tried to barge in and forcefully occupy the site. They were reportedly sent by Sukesh Gupta, a jeweller who is an accused in bank and other fraud cases. His henchmen tried to forcibly enter and take possession of the palace.

The King Kothi palace is where Hyderabad’s last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan lived and died (in 1967). Run by the Nazri Bagh Palace Trust, it was finally sold-off formally to Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt Ltd on March 28, and the company also possession of the palace. It also received a delivery certificate after completing the sale transaction.

The King Kothi palace is a 2.5 lakh square feet property, which was the residence of Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad (erstwhile princely state). Khan ruled from there and continued to stay there even after the Hyderabad state’s accession to India on September 17, 1948. The last Nizam died in 1967 at the age of 81.

The King Kothi palace was originally constructed by a nobleman named Kamal Khan, whose initials were said to have been inscribed on the front portion of the place. It was eventually acquired by Osman Ali Khan, who took a liking to the structure.

The palace had three portions, Osman mansion (which was torn down in the 1980s), Nazri bagh, and the Purdah gate, which was called so as it would always be draped in a curtain. The main building has been converted into a government hospital as well.

The news of the palace’s alleged demolition comes at a time when the state government (in partnership with the World Monument Fund) fully restored the British Residency building (in the premises of the Koti Women’s College). The monument, built by the British between 1798-1806, was where the European nation ran its administration in Hyderabad.