The Bombay High Court recently dismissed an appeal filed by a co-owner of a property set to be redeveloped as part of the city’s first cluster redevelopment project at Bhendi Bazaar, claiming that the sale of the property to Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) was “illegal and fradulent.”
Mohammed Sayed Abdul Sattar, a resident of Goregaon (east), had appealed before a division bench of Justices S J Vazifdar and Revati Mohite Dere after a single judge of the court had earlier dismissed a similar plea.
The 219-sq yard property known as the Doodhwala building, that is in a dilapidated condition, was also attached by the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court during the trial in 1993 serial bomb blasts case. “The property was attached as owned by fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim but it was subsequently released by the court,” said lawyer R V Govilkar, who represented the co-owner of the property, Roashan Vora.
While dismissing Sattar’s appeal, the court said, “It is possible that having lost interest in the property and having conveyed his share therein, the appellant now seeks to take advantage of the fact that the value of the property has increased on account of the efforts put in and expenses incurred by the respondents, especially respondent No. 1 (SBUT).”
According to Sattar, he had a 50 per cent share in property and Roashan and her husband Goolam Vora could not have sold his share to the SBUT.
Sattar and Roashan had bought the property in March 2000 and asked Goolam to manage the property by executing a general power of attorney in his favour on May 14, 2001.
Sattar contended on March 30, 2013, that Roashan had conveyed the property to the SBUT, however, a deed of June 6, 2011, in which he had allegedly released his 50 per cent share in her favour was unregistered and unenforceable in law. The court, however, held that the power of attorney issued by Sattar and Roashan in Goolam’s favour was valid and he had the right to transfer the property.
SBUT’s counsel E P Bharucha and lawyer Cherag Balsara told the court that the property was acquired at Rs 1. 35 crore. “The structure was dilapidated and tenants had to be rehabilitated,” said Bharucha.
The court noted, “The property was mortgaged to a bank. The bank initiated legal proceedings to attach and auction the property. The appellant (Sattar) did not want to be saddled with the liability. The mortgage loan of about Rs 15 lakh has been repaid by the respondent. The property was dilapidated to such an extent that it was almost unfit for habitation. It had no rental income. The demolition and redevelopment was likely to cost a substantial amount. The property had also been attached by the TADA Court in the Mumbai bomb blast case of 1993. Various taxes and dues were payable in respect of the property. It was earmarked for acquisition for road widening.”
While granting no relief to Sattar, the court observed that he had not spent anything on the property for several years, whereas the SBUT had started undertaking a huge redevelopment project, which pertains to redevelopment of a cluster involving 280 buildings, of which 190 buildings have been acquired.