The Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) office in South Mumbai has been flooded with queries from prospective buyers who plan to bid for Dawood Ibrahim’s three properties, which will be auctioned on November 14. Among the bidders are the Hindu Mahasabha and a Supreme Court counsel.
On Tuesday, officials arranged for a physical inspection of the three premises. Prospective bidders were allowed to examine the properties up for sale between 11 am and 1 pm.
Dr Indira Tiwari, working president of the Hindu Mahasabha, said if they succeeded in the bid, the properties would be used for construction of a healthcare facility for underprivileged children or a shelter home for the poor. “Dawood was just a regular smuggler, it is the system that turned him into a dreaded gangster. Successive governments have failed in bringing Dawood to book and by purchasing the properties we are not only trying to make a statement but also fighting the system at large,” Tiwari said.
In an auction in 2015, the Hindu Mahasabha had bought a car that belonged to Dawood, which it later set ablaze. “That was done to teach Dawood and his gang a lesson,” Tiwari said.
Up for grabs on November 14 are six flats in Damarwala building (Room No. 18-20, 25, 26 and 28), Hotel Raunaq Afroz on 33 Pakmodia Street and Shabnam Guest House at Bhendi Bazar, Dawood’s last known addresses.
The first and the third floor apartments in Damarwala building is Dawood’s ancestral property, where he stayed with his family before fleeing the country in 1986. While his brothers also escaped with him, his mother Aminabai stayed back. After her death, the first floor was given away to a madrasa. The corner of the property still has some old furniture that used to once adorn Dawood’s Rounaq Afroz hotel.
After being deported to Mumbai, Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar started staying in Damarwala. He closed down the madrasa and started using it as his office before shifting to Gordon Hall building in Nagpada. He was held by Thane Police in September in an extortion case.
In January this year, the Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property had cleared the government’s move to take over Shabnam Guest House and Damarwala building under the provisions of SAFEMA, dismissing 27 appeals of people claiming to be “long term tenants”.
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 that of Hotel Raunaq Afroz at Rs 1.18 crore. While the earnest money deposit for Damarwala has been kept at Rs 62.3 lakh, that of Hotel Raunaq has been pegged at Rs 23.72 lakh. The reserve price for Shabnam Guest House is Rs 1.21 crore against an EMD of Rs 48.57 lakh.
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, that has not deterred us,” said a senior revenue official who did not wish to be named.
Advocate Upendrakumar Bhardwaj, a resident of Delhi who is participating in the auction, said he would take bank loans to fund his bid. “I want to send a message to the fugitive gangster that we no longer live in his fear,” he said.