The Mumbai-based Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), an organisation of the influential Dawoodi Bohra community, has emerged as the highest bidder at the auction that was held at a room in the Indian Merchants' Chamber in Churchgate area amid tight security arrangements.
The properties allegedly owned by Dawood-Hotel Raunaq Afroz which is also known as Delhi Zaiqa, Shabnam Guest House on Mohammed Ali Road and Damarwala Building at Pakmodia Street, where Dawood's younger brother Iqbal Kaskar lived till September before moving to his sister's house-were up for auction.
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Sources said that SBUT, which is overseeing the ambitious Bhendi Bazaar makeover project, was keen on including Ibrahim's property into its development plan. "These buildings will be redeveloped under the project for the safety of families living there". Hence, the property was auctioned again today. Former journalist-turned-social activist S Balakrishnan's NGO Desh Seva Samiti had successfully bid for the restaurant in 2015.
Advocate Bhardwaj, who practises in the Supreme Court, said, "I came here to participate in the auction and wanted to buy Dawood Ibrahim's properties". It was also made clear that the caution money would be forfeited if a bidder created trouble at the auction. "We submitted bids for and have won the auction for the three properties, which fall within the redevelopment jurisdiction of SBUT". Dawood used to stay at Damarwala Building with his family till he fled the country in 1986. During the previous auction, though, Swami Chakrapani had bought a vehicle belonging to Dawood Ibrahim for Rs 32,000 and set it on fire it on the outskirts of Delhi.
Ronak Afroz restaurant went under hammer in 2015. The auction of the properties has never been an easy task for the government. Swami Chkarapani, national president of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, who had earlier said the he will acquire Raunaq Afroz in the bidding and will build a public toilet there, failed to pay earnest money for the auction and was later disqualified by the Competent Authority (CA) SAFEMA.