It has been four days since fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s property, Hotel Rounak Afroz or Delhi Zaika was auctioned here. Today, S. Balakrishnan, the former journalist who won the bid for the property, is scrambling to raise an eight-digit sum of Rs 3.96 crore. In two days, he has garnered only Rs 2 lakh from individual supporters. He has already paid Rs 30 lakh as caution money. The former scribe is now busy compiling a list of major corporates. “I will appeal to them to donate for the cause under their Corporate Social Responsibility,” he told The Sunday Guardian. He has reasons to be worried. If he fails to raise the sum within a month which is dotted with public holidays, he loses his caution money of Rs 30 lakh which he has already paid. Moreover, the property will then be re-auctioned by the authorities. “Failure on the part of the successful tenderer / bidder to pay the balance bid amount within 30 days from the date of auction shall result in forfeiture of the amounts (including EMD) already paid. No request for extension of time shall be entertained on any ground. The department will be at liberty to take further action for sale of the said property,” the rules put out by the Competent Authority and Administrator, SAFEMA (Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act)/ NDPS Act, Ministry of Finance, state.
What is also of concern is the additional funds that Hotel Rounak Afroz might require. The amount of arrears, if any, are not yet known. “I don’t know if there are any arrears of property tax, light bills and other such amounts,” Balakrishnan said.
“I have appealed to people through Facebook, WhatsApp, email and personal messages. Many people have promised money. I have been able to collect Rs 2 lakh till now, which I know is a drop in the ocean,” he said.
Refuting rumours about being funded by gangster Chhota Rajan, Balakrishnan, who currently runs a social organisation called Desh Seva Samiti, said, “I was never, and I will never be funded by such elements. I have not received a single naya paisa from the gangster. Even if I would have been offered the money, I would have refused it. I will not accept any contribution from tainted sources or political parties.” He said he doesn’t want to use the tendered property for any commercial purpose, but wants to run a computer literacy centre for underprivileged women and children of Bhindi Bazar.