Ajay Shrivastava claims officials will only provide the documentation of the property, but are silent over its possession
Of the two publicly known bidders for underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s 45 sq m Hotel Rounaq Afroz, located in Pakmodia Street, one has backed out. The reason he claims is that officials have told him only documentation of the property will be done from their side, and they are silent over possession of the property.
Ajay Shrivastava has backed out of the auction
Even senior officials have allegedly said that they will just give the winner the documents and the title of the property and that is what the rule also states. The auction will be held today. The Delhi-based lawyer, Ajay Shrivastava, who had won a property belonging to Dawood in an auction in 2001, is still fighting for its possession.
He said, “I was ready with the draft of the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) and also don’t mind spending up to Rs 1.35 crore for the hotel. But then, it will never come to my possession. I was told by officers they are not responsible for the physical possession of the property, instead they will only give the documents in my name. Why should I block my money for a property that I will never get to possess? I have already done that once. I am still fighting for the property that I won 14 years ago.”
Shrivastava had won an industrial unit belonging to Dawood in Nagpada in 2001. He has been fighting a case, which is up for hearing on December 18, for its possession.
Shrivastava added, “The government is the owner of the property now and should give its possession to the winner in the auction. But that is not happening. Why should I risk so much?” However, the other bidder has decided to stay and paid the EMD of Rs 30 lakh to the auctioneer. The other bidder, Desh Seva Samiti, an NGO, is sure that it will get the property that will be auctioned today.
“We are sure that the government will give us the physical possession of the property for which we are bidding. We have paid the money. We plan to open a computer training centre at the premises,” said S Balakrishnan of the NGO. The government had attached Hotel Rounaq Afroz after the 1993 serial blasts. The hotel is in a dilapidated condition.
The auction will be carried out by a private firm called Ashvin & Co Auctioneers, under the instructions of the Competent Authority & Administrator, the Smugglers & Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act 1976 [SAFEM (FOP) A] and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).
Ashvin Shah, of the company, claimed that the response for the auction was good. “I am happy with the response the auction has received. But cannot give any details,” he said. On the other hand, all officials of SAFEMA claimed that they cannot comment as they are not allowed to talk to the media.
However, a senior official said, “We will be following the rules. The auction is on ‘as is where is basis.’ This means the bidder will be taking the property in the condition it is. Our role is that the name of the successful bidder gets on the documents of the property and we will do this. And once the name is put on the documents, the winner can have the possession as the property will belong to him.” On December 3, the inspection of the property was carried out and Shrivastava claimed that they were not allowed inside it.
'As is where is basis' auction
This is unlike a regular auction, where the auctioneer hands over the property, all clean and without any liability. In an ‘as is where is basis’ auction, the winner has to take the possession whatever the condition of the property is. If it is dilapidated, the new owner will get it as it is and then has to renovate it, clean it etc. The responsibility of the auctioneer ends the moment the property is auctioned.