Mumbai: When it became clear on Wednesday evening that he had won the bid for an eatery owned by the fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, former journalist S Balakrishnan could not hide his worries. He was happy that he had kept his word to buy the don’s property, but the amount to be paid for it has left him worried.
At Rs 4.28 crore Balakrishnan, president of the NGO Desh Seva Samiti (DSS), emerged the top bidder for Hotel Rounak Afroz, also known as Hotel Delhi Zaika. The second highest bidder had offered a price of Rs 2.51 crore for the 45.16 square metre food point situated close to Dawood’s residence Dambarwala Building at Pakmodia Street in Bhendi Bazaar area. The auction was conducted in three ways — open auction, e-auction and sealed offer. Balakrishnan had offered the amount through open auction.
“We don’t have that much money,” Balakrishnan said immediately after winning the bid. “We don’t even know whether the previous owner has paid property and other taxes. We will go to the public and appeal to them to help us raise the necessary amount,” he said. Balakrishnan maintained that DSS was not interested in running the eatery for commerical purposes. “We have a plan to start computer classes for the poor children at the eatery’s place. We will run the classes in the name of Ashfaq Ullah Khan, a great freedom fighter,” he said.
The Saifi Burhani Upliftment Trust (SUBT) was reportedly the second highest bidder for the eatery. There was no official confirmation from the authorities under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipilators (Forfeiture of Property)Act (SAFEMA). However, an official from the firm that had been hired to conduct the bidding process said that SUBT was the second highest bidder. The authorities work under the Union Ministry of Finance.
“We have auctioned seven properties today. I don’t know who are their owners. I can only say that property number six (Delhi Zaika) has been sold at Rs 4.28 crore. We will give the winner a period of one month to deposit the money. He/she can get possession of the property after paying the stamp duty and registration fees. If the winner fails to deposit the money he/she will have to lose the property,” the official, who did not wish to be identified, said.
Meanwhile, the don’s Daman farmland plots have been purchased by Mukesh Shah, Jaideep Dolsania and Rajbahadur Sharma; his car by Swami Chakrapal and the tenancy rights by Milan Shah Singhvi.
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