MUMBAI: In a relief to the 92-year-old thespian Dilip Kumar, the Bombay high court paved way for a fresh redevelopment plan of his Pali Hill property, 10 years after a builder he had a deal with did nothing much.
The HC dismissed an appeal by the builder, Prajita Developers, who claimed to be in possession of the prime Pali Hill plot in Bandra, to restrain the award-winning actor from dispossessing it. The HC, observing the advanced age of the actor and the long wait, granted no relief to the builder, who had challenged his termination under the deal.
In 2006, the actor gave a Rs 10-crore contract to a builder, Sharyans, who in turn, in 2010, gave the development rights to Prajita, after getting height clearance for the project from the Airport Authority. But, and except, demolishing the bungalow and paying Rs 8 crore, the builder did nothing else regarding construction of the building, said senior counsel Milind Sathe, who appeared for the actor.
Sathe said that Prajita only held a licence as a contractor and was not in possession, which the builder’s counsel Janak Dwarkadas, disagreed with. The HC agreed with Sathe that the deal gave no rights in perpetuity to the builder. Under the agreement, Kumar was to get 50% of the flats in the proposed 14-storey building with one spacious flat per floor. It was a 2,500 sq m plot. After the builder did nothing for a decade, Kumar terminated the agreement, against which the builder went to the HC, seeking invocation of the arbitration clause and to prevent the actor’s dispossession. But a single judge, in January, dismissed the builder’s plea, prompting the appeal, which too, a bench, headed by Justice Anoop Mohta, dismissed earlier this month, after recording the readiness shown by the actor to return the money to the builder.
The bungalow was occupied by Kumar’s two brothers-in-law-his wife Saira Bano’s brothers. Kumar is now free to enter into a fresh agreement with any builder. However, Prajita may go in appeal to the Supreme Court.