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Who's afraid of Dawood Ibrahim? Not the ones who took part in this auction

Ashwin Aghor | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 12:34 IST

The auction

  • Seven properties owned by Dawood Ibrahim were auctioned in Mumbai on Wednesday, 9 December
  • This was not the first time an auction of his properties took place - no one had turned up the first time

The buyers

  • NGO Deshseva Samiti, which had received threats from Chhota Shakeel, bid Rs 4.28 crore for the Dilli Zaika eatery
  • The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha bid Rs 30,000 for a scrapped car

More in the story

  • The message the buyers want to send Dawood
  • What Deshseva founder S Balakrishnan wants to convert the eatery into

Property owned by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim around the city of Mumbai was auctioned off on Wednesday, 9 December. The property included an eatery, a car and a room in Matunga that's usually put up on rent.

Apart from businessmen and the general public, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and a Mumbai-based NGO headed by a former journalist also participated in the auction.

Read: How Dawood Ibrahim became India's most wanted man

And while the auction and the amounts may not mean much in themselves, the purpose was to send out a clear message - that Indians and Mumbaikars, in particular, are not afraid of Dawood.

Not deterred by threats

The property in possession of the government was auctioned under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act, 1976, at Hotel Diplomat in Colaba.

The auction was already under the spotlight after Dawood's henchman Chhota Shakeel allegedly threatened veteran journalist S Balakrishnan with dire consequences over his intention to participate in the auction and bid for the eatery Dilli Zaika on Pakmodia Street, Byculla. The eatery had been one of the don's main hideouts when he was in India. It was earlier known as Hotel Raunaq Afroz.

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The hotel had a base price of Rs 1.18 crore, and the Deshseva Samiti headed by Balakrishnan was the highest bidder, with Rs 4.28 crore. "I wanted to buy the eatery to start an education centre for underprivileged women and children from the Bhendi Bazar area. I am not deterred by the threats; in spite of them, we participated in the auction. Now I appeal to the general public of Mumbai to donate generously to our NGO, so that we can pay the bid price to the government within a month," Balakrishnan said.

Deshseva Samiti bid Rs 4.28 crore for Dawood's eatery. It wants to turn it into an education centre

Balakrishnan formed the Deshseva Samiti 10 years ago, and started working for underprivileged children in the city. The proposed education centre, to be operated with Maulana Moin Miyan, will have facilities to teach English and computers to women and children of the area. The education centre would be named after Ashfaqulla Khan, Balakrisnhan said.

Busting the 'myth' of Dawood's terror

This is second time that Dawood's properties have been put up for auction. Earlier, 11 of his properties in Mumbai went under the hammer. But the auction was not successful, as no one came forward to participate.

According to sources, seven properties belonging to Dawood were put up for auction this time.

Balakrishnan said the main objective of participating in the auction was to send a message that Dawood can't scare the country while sitting peacefully at a hideout. "It would be a disgrace if we didn't participate in the auction," he said.

Also read- Friend turned foe: how Chhota Rajan became Dawood's no. 1 enemy

Reacting to the failure of the previous auction, Balakrishnan said: "It is highly disgraceful. As a journalist, I always felt ashamed about the failure. Dawood cannot rule the city sitting in Pakistan. It was high time someone came forward and sent the message that this city is not afraid of a fugitive."

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While the Deshseva Samiti won the bid for Dilli Zaika, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha purchased a sedan belonging to the don which has been reduced to scrap.

The national chairman of the Mahasabha, Chander Prakash Kaushik, said: "The sole intention of participating in the auction was to bust the myth of terror that Dawood has become synonymous with. We bought the car for Rs 30,000, against the base price of Rs 15,700. We wanted to prove that Dawood is no better than any other criminal running for his life. This time we did not get sufficient time to bid for other properties. But next time, we will be prepared and try to place bids for maximum number of properties."

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First published: 10 December 2015, 12:31 IST
Ashwin Aghor @CatchNews

Journalist based in Mumbai.