WHEN an elderly widow went to India to find a bride for her youngest son, another son sold her four-room flat in Telok Blangah for $430,000.
Upon her return, Madam Nellukkara Mohamed Abdullah Fatimah Zaharah, 76, had to move in with her daughter.
With the help of the Legal Aid Bureau, she sued Mr Zulfikar Ali Kappukal Abdul Wahab Kashmiri, 40, a tourism officer, and his wife Fazar Nisha Begum for the sales proceeds on the grounds the flat was sold without her permission.
He initially wanted to contest the suit in the High Court, saying that his mother wanted him to sell the flat and share the money with the youngest son.
Last month, the matter was settled out of court.
In the consent judgment filed on July 30, Mr Zulfikar Ali and his wife agreed to pay the mother $422,417. They are also liable for her legal costs of $50,000.
Court documents filed by Madam Nellukkara's lawyer state that the son convinced her in April 2009 to give him power of attorney so that he could rent out the flat while she was away.
She signed this authorisation document at a law firm but was not told that it also gave him the power to sell the flat.
While in India, she was shocked to get a call from Mr Zulfikar Ali telling her that the flat had been sold.
She returned on Dec 28 that year to find that payment had been banked into a joint account held by her and Mr Zulfikar Ali.
He had withdrawn $422,220 and bought a flat in Eunos Crescent for $290,000. His younger brother, 37, a shop assistant, received only $130,000.
Madam Nellukkara maintained that her signature in the seller's declaration was a forgery. She said she had no reason to give the money to only two of her children and exclude her 51-year-old engineer son and a 42-year-old daughter, a housewife.
Mr Zulfikar Ali, who had lived in the flat with his mother and would give her $50 a month, was said to have pestered her to sell the property and give him the money.
He is also alleged to have assaulted her on several occasions when she refused to sell.
He has denied these and blamed his sister for instigating their mother to sue him, saying she was upset she had not received a share of the proceeds.
Madam Nellukkara, who still lives with her daughter in a three-room flat in Telok Blangah Heights, declined comment.
But her daughter told The Straits Times that the family members have reconciled.
She said: "All of us are happy the matter has been settled."