The Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) has bid the highest for the three Dawood Ibrahim properties that went under the hammer on Tuesday. The total amount of the highest bidder in the public auction for the three properties is around Rs. 11.50 crore, according to sources. The public auction was held by the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) (SAFEMA) at Churchgate in South Mumbai. Around a dozen bidders turned up at the auction venue.
“The three properties (Shabnam Guest House, Damarwala building & Hotel Raunaq Afroz) fall under our ongoing Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment project. These buildings are in dilapidated condition and unfit for living. Therefore to ensure the safety of the families living in these buildings and to carry on with the redevelopment project, we participated in the bidding and acquired these properties,” SBUT spokesperson said.
SAFEMA’s south Mumbai office had been flooded with queries from prospective buyers who planned to bid for the three properties of fugitive gangster, Dawood Ibrahim that are being auctioned.
Meanwhile, Hindu Maha Sabha, that had earlier expressed its intentions to participate, failed to deposit the earnest money and was rendered disqualified by SAFEMA.
Last week officials of SAFEMA arranged for a physical inspection of the three premises. The prospective bidders were allowed to examine the properties up for sale between 11 am and 1 pm.
The properties auctioned included six flats in Damarwala building (Room numbers 18-20, 25, 26 and 28), Hotel Raunaq Afroz on 33 Pakmodia Street and Shabnam Guest House at Bhendi Bazar, the last known addresses of Dawood.
The first and the third floor apartments in Damarwala building is Dawood’s ancestral property, where he stayed with this family before fleeing the country in 1986. W
While his brothers also escaped along with him, his mother Aminabai stayed back. After her death, the first floor was given away to a madrasa where young Muslim girls are imparted Quran lessons and also taught tailoring. The corner of the property still has some old furniture that used to once adorn Dawood’s Rounaq Afroz hotel. After Iqbal was deported to Mumbai and started started staying in Dambarwala, he closed down the madrasa and uses it as his ‘office space’. However, he shifted to Gordon Hall in Nagpada, belonging to his slain sister Haseena Parkar after the recent Bhendi Bazar building collapse. In September, he was arrested by the Thane Police in an extortion case and since then has been in police custody.
Hotel Raunaq Afroz, now know as Delhi Zaika, was one of the first properties purchased by Dawood when he took control of the smuggling business from his mentor, Haji Mastan.
Shabnam Guest house, a double-storey structure in Yakub street which was occupied by Dawood’s younger siblings- Haseena and Iqbal.
In January this year, the Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property had cleared the Government’s move to takeover Dawood two properties (Shabnam Guest House and Damarwala building) under the provisions of SAFEMA dismissing 27 appeals of people claiming to be “long term tenants” at the Dambarwala Building and Shabnam Guesthouse in Mumbai.
The Office of Competent Authority and Administrator, SAFEMA/ NDPS, Mumbai has reserved the price of the six flats in Damarwala building at Rs 1.55 crore and at of hotel Raunaq Afroz at Rs 1.18 crore. While the earnest money deposit for Damarwala has been kept at Rs 62.30 lakh, that of Hotel Raunaq has been pegged at Rs 23.72 lakh. The reserve price of Shabnam Guest house is Rs 1.21 crore and the EMD at Rs. 48.57 lakh.
“Each property would be sold to the highest bid/bidder among all the three methods, provided the highest bid is equal to more than the Reserve Price. The Competent Authority is the sole authority and reserves the right to withdraw any property from the sale process or to reject any bid, including the highest bid, at any time, even after the auction proceedings are over, without assigning any reason thereof,” read a public notice.
Meanwhile, security remains a concern for both the organisers and those bidding for the properties. “We know that we are being watched. In 2015 when we carried out the auction there were intelligence inputs that the D-gang was watching our every move. While the auction failed but that has not deterred us and we have decided to put three of his properties under hammer,” a senior official from the Department of Revenue, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
In December 2015, the government had appointed a private firm to conduct the auction under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act, 1976. Seven properties including four agricultural plots in Daman, Hotel Rounaq Afroz, Tenancy rights on a flat in Mahavir building in Matunga were put for auction.