Mumbai: Effectively debunking the claims of a Mumbai builder on Bollywood thespian Dilip Kumar's prime plot in suburban Bandra here, the original owners of the property on Sunday reiterated that he is its "perpetual lessee" for a period of 999 years. Since the lease was signed in 1953, it expires in 2952.
The 96-year old Dilip Kumar and his 74-year old wife Saira Banu got a major boost in their ongoing property battle with Mumbai realtor Samir N. Bhojwani when the Seth Mulraj Khatau Trust (SMKT) issued Public Notices in the media on Saturday-Sunday through their lawyer Altamesh Shaikh.
The Public Notice categorically stated that Dilip Kumar is the "perpetual lessee" and not a tenant, as alleged, of the property "for the period of 999 years". Besides, the rent on the property has already been commuted and the "lease is still valid and subsisting".
The Public Notice has been issued on behalf of the legal heirs of the late Sunit C. Khatau, beneficiary of the SMKT settlement and the late Chandrakant M. Khatau, one of the Trustees, said a trustee, Panna S. Khatua, the widow of Sunit C. Khatau.
The latest development in the high-profile controversy came soon after the aged actor-couple, in their first pro-active offensive - hit out at builder Samir N. Bhojwani with a Rs 200 crore (Eds; Correct) defamation suit was first highlighted by IANS on January 4, 2019.
The Public Notice also alleged that Bhojwani and others have "created and manufactured" illegal back-dated documents of several properties of the SMKT, for which it has also lodged police complaints.
Bhojwani was arrested in connection with the police complaints and is currently out on conditional bail, and the bail cancellation matter is likely to come up before the Bombay High Court on January 7.
Referring to a Public Notice issued by Bhojwani around a fortnight ago, the SMKT said: "Samir Bhojwani claimed ownership of the property belonging to Dilip Kumar. Please note that Bhojwani is not the owner of the propertya The Property Card shows the name of Chandrakant M. Khatau as one of the owner and Dilip Kumar as 'lessee' by the sale deed dated 25 Sep. 1953."
The Public Notice warned the members of the public against entering into any kind of deal with anybody for the property belonging to the SMKT as it would not be binding on the trust.
Earlier, the celebrity couple had even appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, but had launched a counter-attack on the realtor with the defamation notice after failing to get any response.
The dispute pertains to Dilip Kumar's iconic Pali Hill bungalow No. 16 on a 1,600 sq. metres plot, said to be worth over Rs 250 crore. Since it is in a dilapidated state, he shifted in 2003 to his wife's bungalow No. 34 in the same area in Bandra west.
Saira Banu has already announced that she will build a museum in honour of Dilip Kumar at the No 16 site, which is mired in a controversy since several years.