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Dawood’s properties auctioned: Private trust to redevelop them for Bhendi Bazar residents

Ashwin Aghor | Updated on: 14 November 2017, 17:43 IST
(Arya Sharma)

The much awaited auction of the Mumbai assets belonging to underworld fugitive Dawood Ibrahim took place on Tuesday. The Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) bought three properties for Rs 11.5 crore. The properties were located at Pakmodia Street in South Mumbai and included six flats at Damarwala Building, Hotel Raunak Afroz and Shabnam Guest House.

sThe action took place at the Indian Merchants’ Chamber in Mumbai’s Churchgate area. It is learnt that there were six bidders for the properties. Out of the six, SBUT was the highest bidder. The reserve price for Damarwala Building was set at Rs 1.56 crore, for Hotel Raunak Afroz at Rs 1.19 crore and for Shabnam Guest House, it was Rs 1.22 crpre. SBUT bid Rs 11.5 crore for all the three properties.

The auction was held by the competent authority under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA). After acquiring the properties, SBUT spokesperson said, “The Trust was interested in buying these three properties as they are within the area of our ongoing Bhendi Bazar redevelopment project. All these three buildings are in a dilapidated condition. These buildings will be redeveloped under the project for the safety of families living there.”

The bidders for the auction also included the Hindu Mahasabha. But they were disqualified by SAFEMA authorities as it failed to deposit the earnest money in time. The physical inspection of the properties to be auctioned took place last week.

Six flats – 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 28 in Damarwala Building, Hotel Raunak Afroz and Shabnam Guest House were the last known addresses of Dawood Ibrahim. Dawood used to stay at Damarwala Building with his family till he fled the country in 1986. Dawood’s mother Aminabi used to stay at Damarwala building even after he and his brothers fled the country. Hotel Raunak Afroz, initially belonged to Haji Mastan. Dawood purchased it when he took over Mastan’s smuggling empire and renamed it Hotel Delhi Zaika.

The Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property had cleared the takeover of the properties by the government under the provisions of SAFEMA and this cleared the deck for auction. The auction of the properties has never been an easy task for the government. Even now, security remains a major concern.

A senior official from the Revenue Department, who did not wish to be named, said, “The acquisition and auction of the properties have always been difficult tasks. During the auction carried out in 2015, there was intelligence input that the gangsters of Dawood gang were watching us round the clock. However, it could not succeed back then.”

A private firm was appointed in December 2015 to auction seven properties including four agricultural plots in Daman, Hotel Raunak Afroz, tenancy rights on a flat in Mahavir Building in Matunga. But the auction couldn’t take place.

After Dawood fled India, properties belonging to him and his associates were seized under the provisions of SAFEMA. The auction of these properties was planned in a phased manner. However, there was no response to the auction on previous occasions. During the previous auction, though, Swami Chakrapani had bought a car belonging to Dawood Ibrahim for Rs 32,000 and set it on fire it on the outskirts of Delhi.

He also wanted to acquire Hotel Raunak Afroz to build a toilet there, to spread the message that how terrorism ends. Veteran journalist S Balakrishnan had a;sp bid for the hotel in 2015, but he failed to arrange the funds. 

First published: 14 November 2017, 17:43 IST