Mumbai: Dawood Ibrahim's eatery sold for cool Rs 4.28 crore

Rounaq Afroz, underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s restaurant on Pakmodia Street, was sold to an NGO headed by a former journalist, who said he will set up a computer training centre there

It’s a done deal. Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s eatery on Pakmodia Street has gone to former journalist S Balakrishnan’s NGO, Desh Seva Samiti in an auction held yesterday. Bought for a whopping R4.28 crore, the eatery will be converted into a computer-training centre, said Balakrishnan.

Hotel Rounaq Afroz at Pakmodia Street, which was later rechristened Delhi Zaika, currently lies in a dilapidated condition. File pic
Hotel Rounaq Afroz at Pakmodia Street, which was later rechristened Delhi Zaika, currently lies in a dilapidated condition. File pic

As mid-day had reported earlier, Hotel Rounaq Afroz at Pakmodia Street had been attached by the government after the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The restaurant, which was later rechristened Delhi Zaika, currently lies in a dilapidated condition.

The property went under the hammer yesterday at a public auction at Hotel Diplomat in Colaba, where it was sold for Rs 4.28 crore. This brings the per-square-metre cost to around Rs 9.47 lakh, one of the highest rates in Bhendi Bazaar and surrounding areas.

The auction was carried out by a private firm called Ashvin & Co Auctioneers, under the instructions of the Competent Authority and Administrator, under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act, 1976 [SAFEM (FOP) A] and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).

Balakrishnan, who was present at the auction, received tough competition from the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), but ultimately outbid them by a lakh. Unlike Balakrishnan, SBUT placed bids through all three modes — public auction, e-auction and tenders.

SBUT placed varying bids in each format, with the highest figure at Rs 4.27 crore in the public auction. To counter this, Balakrishnan bid an extra lakh and won the auction. “We couldn’t afford to bid that high and hence, we stopped midway in the auction,” said a member from SBUT present at the SAFEMA office in Nariman Point.

Balakrishnan’s NGO now has 30 days to pay the bid amount, but they are yet to gather the funds. The former scribe said the NGO had used fixed deposits to pay the Earnest Money Deposit of Rs 30 lakh, and the caution money deposit of R15,000, and were hoping for contributions from the public to make up the balance amount.

“I believe in our country, people are generous and they will help us buy the property. We don’t intend to start a commercial outlet there; we will start a computer training centre at the place.”

Asked about rumours that Dawood’s rivals had helped him buy the property, Balakrishnan said, “I know people well on both sides, but that was part of my job. I would never use any of them and will never take any help from them.”

No official from SAFEMA commented on the auction, but Ashvin Shah, from the auctioneers, said, “We cannot divulge anything on the auction. However, for the Rounaq Afroz property, there were two bidders in the public auction, one in the e-auction and one in the sealed tenders.”

— Inputs by Hemal Ashar

Dawood’s car too?
Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha general secretary Indira Tiwari was also present at the auction with the party’s national president, Swami Chakrapani. Tiwari claimed that they had bid for, and won, a green car under the impression that it belonged to Dawood. The green Hyundai Accent (year 2000) was sold for Rs 32,000.

Auctioned properties
A total of seven properties were auctioned via three modes on Wednesday:
1. Agriculture Land in Nani Daman for Rs 15 lakh
2. Agriculture Land in Nani Daman for Rs 18 lakh
3. Agriculture Land in Nani Daman for Rs 2 lakh
4. Agriculture Land in Nani Daman for Rs 12.4 lakh
5. Tenancy Right room in Matunga for Rs 63 lakh
6. Hotel Rounaq Afroz for Rs 4.28 crore
7. Hyundai Accent Car of year 2000 for Rs 32,000

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