NOTWITHSTANDING Sirafraz Khan’s uncontested succession, he was so appre­hensive of the intrigues of his enemies, that he did not venture out of the fort to attend his father’s funeral. In obedience to the commands of his father’s testament, he entrusted the government to the management of the Hajee, the Royrayan, and Juggut Seat. Their influ­ence increased daily, to the entire exclusion of all Sirafraz Khan’s old friends, and dependants, who had naturally entertained hopes of prefer­ment, and consequently were dissatisfied at finding themselves neglected. The princesses used their endeavours to prevail upon Sirafraz Khan to employ his old servants, upon whose attachment he might rely; but the triumvirate opposed every attempt of the kind, and would not admit of any participation of their power.

The Hajee and Alyvirdy Khan had for years formed the design of possessing themselves of the nizamut of Bengal, and they thought the present time favourable for carrying their long concerted scheme into execution. They artfully represented to the Royroyan, and Juggut Seat, that Sirafraz Khan was plotting their destruc­tion, in order to make room for his old dependants. After exciting their apprehensions for their own safety, it was agreed that Alyvirdy Khan, being ordered to Bengal under pretence of paying his respects to Sirafraz Khan, should bring with him a sufficient force to protect them from the evil attempts of their enemies. This was the declared intention of the brothers; but in their hearts they had determined to take away the life of Sirafraz Khan.

When Nadir Shah plundered Dehly, every part of Hindostan was filled with the dread of being visited by the merciless invaders. Sira­fraz Khan, at the instigation of the Hajee, and the Royroyan, actually ordered coin to be struck, and the Khotbah* to be read in the name of Nadir Shah: and, moreover, remitted to him the revenues of Bengal by Moreed Khan*, who just before had been sent thither by Kummereddeen Khan*, in order to escort the treasure to Dehly. After the depar­ture of Nadir Shah, the Hajee, and Alyvirdy Khan did not fail to avail themselves of these circumstances, to injure Sirafraz Khan with Mohammed Shah; and, by their negociations with Nizam ul Mulk*, and other ministers of state, endeavoured to procure an order for his execution as a traitor.

At the same time Hajee and his colleagues represented to Sirafraz Khan, that his army was too great, and that by reducing it to a proper strength, he would gain credit with the emperor, by lessening the military expences of the government. The easy and credulous Sira­fraz Khan readily consented to have half his army disbanded; and as fast as the men were dismissed from his service, the Hajee secretly entertained them for Alyvirdy Khan; to whom he sent twenty four lacks of rupees from him­self, and his three sons; and others of their relations and friends made them large advances, to be repaid when they should get possession of the soobahdary.

Sirafraz Khan*, having received intima­tion of their plot, from his agents at court, formed a design of emancipating himself, and, with that view, had made the following arrange­ments. Alyvirdy Khan was to be recalled from Bahar, and succeeded by Syed Hassan Moham­med Khan, the son-in-law of Sirafraz Khan; the foujdary of Rajemahl, with the command of the important passes of Sankreegully, and Telliagury, upon the removal of Attahullah Khan, the Hajee’s son-in-law, was to be given to Meer Sherefeddeen Bukhshee*; and Jess­wunt Roy was to have superseded the Royroyan. But these intentions having been secretly dis­covered by the Hajee and his colleagues, they waited upon Sirafraz Khan, and with the most solemn protestations of inviolable duty, and attachment to his family, set forth the public evils which must ensue from so precipitate a change of men and measures, at the season of the heavy collections of the revenues; and only entreated him, for his own sake, and for the interest of the government, to delay the execu­tion of his plan till the end of the year, of which there remained only three months. Sirafraz Khan, who was of an open and unsus­pecting character, swallowed the bait, and gave up his plan altogether.

In the interim, Alyvirdy Khan began his march for Bengal, at the head of a powerful army, under pretence of paying a formal visit to the new Nazim.