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The iconic Malabar Hill residential bungalow of Dr Homi J Bhabha, ‘Meherangir’, was sold for Rs 372 crore by the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on Wednesday. The public auction of the bungalow was concluded as per the provisions of the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.
The minimum reserve price for the property was Rs 257 crore. Funds from the auction would be utilised for mordernisation of the theatres and upgradation of equipments.
While several from the scientific and nuclear fraternity were opposed to the auction and felt that the house should be preserved as a heritage structure and converted into a museum, NCPA chairman K N Suntook said that such sentiments “were misplaced”.
He said that that Homi Bhabha, the architect of India’s nuclear power programme, was only a part owner of the property and after his demise, the property “devolved solely upon his brother Jamshed, who bequeathed it absolutely to the NCPA by his will, which has since been probated”.
Suntook said he was sad that eminent scientists were supporting this movement and that BARC has lot of funds and they could have used that to bid for the bungalow. While there were eight bidders originally, three turned up for the auction. Suntook added that Homi Bhabha was a great lover of culture himself and both brothers would have been disappointed with the opposition to the auction.