An eatery once owned by dreaded underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in South Mumbai besides his green sedan and tenancy rights to a property in suburban Matunga went under the hammer today, with a former journalist emerging as the top bidder at Rs 4.28 crore for the food joint notwithstanding a threat from the don’s aide Chhota Shakeel.
Other four properties owned by the don outside Maharashtra were also auctioned. However, details of these assets and their bidders are not known.
Journalist-turned-activist S Balakrishnan, who runs NGO ‘Desh Sewa Samiti’, plans to start a computer education centre for poor children on the premises of the property.
Balakrishnan pipped Durhani Trust of Bohra community in an aggressive bidding that lasted for over one hour at Hotel Diplomat in South Mumbai.
Interestingly, Hindu Mahasabha won the bid at Rs 3.32 lakh to purchase Dawood’s Hyundai Accent, which was priced at measly Rs 15,700.
This green sedan has been parked at a government society in Ghatkopar for the past four years and is in bad shape with burst tyres and shattered windshield.
Besides Balakrishnan, a Delhi-based lawyer Ajay Shrivastava and president of Hindu Mahasabha Swami Chakrapani were among the bidders for the assets on block.
The government had appointed a private firm to hold the auction under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act, 1976.
However, the winner of the tenancy rights for Dawood’s room, situated in Mahavir Building in Matunga, is not known.
The base price for the 32.77 sq metre room was fixed at Rs 50.44 lakh.
Delhi Zaika, earlier hotel Rounak Afroz, is located at a short distance from Dawood’s house in Dambarwala building in Pakmodia Street where his younger brother Iqbal Kaskar resides.
“Our only competitor was Durhani Trust which works for redevelopment work in Bhendi Bazar. The bidding went on for one-and-half hours and finally our bid for Rs 4.28 crore was accepted in open auction,” Balakrishnan told reporters.
The reserve price of the property was Rs 1.18 crore.
“My NGO wants this property (eatery on Pakmodia) to help underprivileged women and children of Bhendi Bazar to learn computers. This will help the people in society and give a strong message to gangsters like Dawood that Indians are not afraid of him and he can no longer unleash terror in the country,” he said.
When asked about funding for the property, which he has to manage within a month, Balakrishnan said he would arrange money from the common people of the country.
“I fully trust the citizens of this country. I am completely dependent on them as I don’t have such a huge amount (Rs 4.28 crore), but with the help of people of India (I) will be able to arrange the fund in one month,” Balakrishnan added.
Downplaying the threat he had allegedly received from Shakeel against buying the property, the former scribe said, “It would have been shameful for the country had we been kept away from the process. Someone (Dawood) sitting in Pakistan cannot dictate terms to us”.
Meanwhile, Swami Chakrapani of Hindu Mahasabha said they will convert the Sedan into an ambulance and donate it to people.
“…And if that is not possible, the vehicle will be set on fire with Dawood’s effigy inside,” he said.
Chakrapani denied that the process was held under fear from the D company.
“I came to the auction following a threat to a former journalist. No one is scared of of the ‘danav’ (demon) company (referring to Dawood). The government of the country is very strong,” he added.
Local police force was deployed at the site to prevent any untoward incident.