Bidding for a roadside eatery once owned by fugitive mob boss Dawood Ibrahim may be held afresh with journalist-turned-activist S Balakrishnan failing to raise almost Rs 4 crore needed to formally acquire the property, which he had won in an auction last year.
Balakrishnan, who runs an NGO ‘Desh Seva Samiti’, failed to submit the bank draft of the requisite amount on the last day today. Another round of auction may have to be called as ‘Dawoodi Bohra Muslim Trust’, the second highest bidder of the property, is not in favour of chipping in.
“I asked the Dawoodi Bohra Trust to pay the amount that they had bid and use the property for the betterment of the area. But due to fear (of the don) or other reasons they also refused,” he claimed.
Balakrishnan had emerged the highest bider at Rs 4.28 crore for ‘Delhi Zaika’, located near Dawood’s house in Pakmodia Street, which went under the hammer along with other properties of the gangster in December. Balakrishnan had deposited Rs 30 lakh at the time of the auction.
He had planned to start a computer education centre for poor children in the now-defunct eatery.
“I feel very sad to say that I failed to raise the amount. The fear of Dawood Ibrahim was the foremost reason why people didn’t came forward to support me,” he told reporters.
Balakrishnan said he had approached as many as 70 businessmen for raising money, but they turned him down.
“You see Rs 4 crore was not a big amount in the city where a flat is sold for over Rs 15-20 crore. So, I personally appealed and wrote to 70 businessmen across the country, but none of them came forward to help.
“They told me that they are ready to donate for any other project or social-welfare cause, but they don’t want themselves to be dragged into any matter pertaining to Dawood Ibrahim,” he claimed.
Balakrishnan, who is now set to lose Rs 30 lakh in deposit, requested the government not to go for a second auction and to use the property to build a police station.
The auction was held by the government through a private firm under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act, 1976.