Though the fear of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim may still keep many on tenterhooks, a handful of plucky prospective investors on Wednesday came out to bid for properties allegedly owned by him at an auction here amidst tight security.
Despite an SMS threat from the don’s associate, Chhota Shakeel, former journalist S. Balakrishnan made the highest bid of Rs.4.28 crore for an eatery, Delhi Zaika, a property built on around 500 square feet land in south-central Mumbai.
The second highest bid for the property was Rs.4.27 crore made by a Dawoodi Bohra Trust.
A former municipal corporator, Balakrishnan, bid for the prime property on behalf of his non-governmental organisation – Desh Seva Samiti – that works for child welfare and women empowerment. He now plans to open an English-speaking and computer institute on the property.
Balakrishnan said he would appeal to the public for funds to fund his endeavour, adding that he proposed to name the institute after freedom fighter Ashfaqullah Khan.
“Somebody sitting in Pakistan can’t dictate terms to this country. It’s an insult to our country. We shall not be cowed down by threats and shall sacrifice whatever we have for the nation,” an aggressive Balakrishnan said during the bidding.
The property in Pakmodia Street – once considered the hub of the don’s activities – had a reserve price of Rs.1.18 crore.
A Hyundai Accent car, having a reserve price of around Rs.15,000, was acquired by All India Hindu Mahasabha president Swami Chakrapani.
A total of seven listed properties reportedly belonging to Dawood Ibrahim – ranging from a car to plots in Mumbai and Daman – are in the custody of Competent Authority, which seizes properties of those accused in serious crimes like narcotics, smuggling and forex violations, and then auctions them under the Smuggling and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act, 1976, and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Prevention) Act.
A room built over around 350 square feet in Mahavir Building in Matunga was among the listed properties.
Four small plots in union territory Daman also went under the hammer on Wednesday.