Mumbai: He wanted to stand up to a “terrorist”, so he devised a unique way to fight him: “I want to defeat Dawood. So, I will stay wherever he is”.
A Delhi-based lawyer is in the spotlight after the recent auction of four properties owned by India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. Ajay Srivastava bought the smallest land parcel which had a reserve price of just ₹ 15,000 for a whopping price of ₹ two crore. Reason for such a high bid: “I have bought all the surrounding land. Only this small piece of land was left, so I had to bid for it in a way that no one else would,” said Mr Srivastava.
This, however, is not the first time that he bought a property linked to Dawood Ibrahim. He has been doing it for years.
He read about the auction of two of the properties of the underworld don – believed to be hiding in Karachi – in 2001 in a newspaper for the first time: “In 2001, I read in the newspaper that Dawood’s lands were being auctioned by the Income Tax Department but people were not coming forward to bid, I understood that people were scared.”
The lawyer had bought two shops owned by the terrorist in Mumbai’s Nagpada. He was the only bidder then. He is still fighting for possession of the shops even though a Mumbai court had ruled in his favour in 2011. The order was challenged in the Bombay High Court and the case is being fought by the children of Dawood’s sister, Haseena Parkar.
“I felt that I should come forward against a terrorist and soon after, more people started coming forward,” he said.
He said that he received threats after buying the property. “After which, I got Z+ security for 11 years,” the lawyer said.
His ardour to “defeat Dawood” was such that even a call from the underworld don’s lawyer couldn’t dissuade him.
“Three-four years ago, Dawood’s family contacted me through his lawyer and said ‘you should sell this property to me and tell me how much money you want’. I refused because my aim is not to earn money,” he said.
The man even bought Dawood’s ancestral bungalow in 2020. “Dawood was born there. I want to build a Hindu school like how madrassas function. And, I established Sanatan Dharma Pathshala Trust for this purpose,” said Mr Srivastava.
The lawyer is yet to get the possession of the bungalow but he is hopeful it would be granted this year.
“The land I bought yesterday is close to his bungalow. I have bought all the surrounding land. Only this piece was left. If this land would have gone to someone else, the surrounding areas would have lost their value,” he said, “I consider this patriotism,” he added.
The properties, located at Dawood’s ancestral Mumbake village in Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra, were available at the auction. While no bids were received for two of them, the others were sold for more than Rs. 2 crore.