OFFICIALS OF the Raigad Collectorate on Friday started demolishing a sea-facing bungalow at Kihim in Alibaug, belonging to diamond merchant and PNB scam accused Nirav Modi. The bungalow, worth Rs 42 crore, according to the valuation done by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was declared illegal by the collector on December 4.
The Alibaug police said the collector’s office received possession of the bungalow, Rupanya, on Thursday night. “We will be around until the civic authorities complete their work,” said a police officer.
The bungalow is being razed following a Bombay High Court order last month, directing demolition of structures built by Modi and other individuals if these were illegal.
“The bungalow, spread over 30,000 sq ft, contained several of Nirav Modi’s possessions, which have been seized and taken away by the ED. We started the demolition process today. It will take at least a week to demolish the building completely,” said Raigad Collector Vijay Suryawanshi.
Sources said that the building, which comprises underground cellars and a couple of swimming pools, had been made out of materials procured internationally. “The building has several fixtures from Indonesia and Bali. It is an expensive bungalow,” said the officer.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the collector said: “The building is a reinforced concrete structure. These are very robust and thus, it will take time to break the building. Two of our bulldozers and poclaine machines have started work.”
In December last year, the collector had written to Modi asking him to raze the structure on his own. “We had issued a letter to Mr Modi and their representatives. However, we didn’t receive any response and thus, we contacted the ED, which took possession of the house,” said Suryawanshi.
The HC order followed a public interest litigation filed by NGO Shamburaje Yuva Kranti in 2009, demanding action against illegal bungalows, hotels and resorts violating the high tide and low tide zones in tiny villages along the beaches of Raigad.