In a major development, Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd (IHFL) has decided to auction the iconic 'Palais Royale' building to recover dues worth a whopping Rs 971 crore from the owners, the S.Kumar's fame industrialist Vikas Kasliwal.
The IHFL has issued an e-auction notice for sale of all the fixed assets of realty major, Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd. (SRUIL) and its guarantor Vikas Kasliwal.
Three specific assets of SRUIL, situated in the posh Worli area, which includes the property No. 1, on which 'Palais Royale' - India's upcoming tallest and most luxurious residential building is also situated, will go under the hammer.
The total loan amounts on six counts is Rs 715 crore, coming to a total outstanding of Rs 971,25,96,546 due to IHFL from SRUIL and Kasliwal.
The combined reserve prices for these three properties is fixed at Rs 783 crore to be auctioned on Monday, May 6.
Despite repeated attempts by IANS for comments, Kasliwal didn't respond to calls/messages on Saturday.
The saga of Rs 3,500-crore 'Palais Royale', in which some of India's high networth individuals comprising big names from the business, glamour world, besides top professionals and NRIs have booked super-deluxe flats, started a decade ago, in 2009.
The country's tallest residential skyscraper, standing at almost 295-metres, is expected to have more than 160 high-end apartments of which nearly 80 per cent have been sold out.
Later, there were problems with finances, a deal soured with another prominent realtor, serious lapses and illegal constructions detected by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, that put brakes on the progress of the project that was to be fully completed by 2012.
Irked by the huge delays, series of litigation in different courts, the flat buyers have even formed a Palais Royale Members Association to recover their collective investments of around Rs 1,200 crore, sunk in the controversial project for so long.
The majestic 'Palais Royale' with a grand view of the Rajiv Gandhi Bandra Worli Sea Link and other prominent landmarks, has come up on the erstwhile five-acres Shree Ram Mills compound.
It followed the footsteps of many other defunct textile mills that have blossomed into mega-housing complexes, malls, entertainment zones, commercial plazas, thriving in the past couple of decades.
The 'Palais Royale' episode becomes the second major embarrassment for the reputed Kasliwal family after the recent collapse of the Reid & Taylor luxury brand - headed by Nitin Kasliwal (brother of Vikas Kasliwal) - which is now facing liquidation as a going concern, as per a February 5, 2019 order of National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai.
Industry sources, however, darkly predict that given the current dismal scenario in the realty market in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country, its difficult to imagine who would dare to touch a messy project like this.
"In the past four-five years, banks and other lenders are saddled with thousands of properties which they are unable to dispose off to recover their dues, ranging from a few lakhs to a few crore rupees. For a single project like 'Palais Royale', the figure of outstandings is nearly a thousand crore rupees," said one player requesting anonymity.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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