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Bhabha property to be used as family home

Comments Off on Bhabha property to be used as family home   |   July 7, 2014    12:42am   |Contributed by Indian Realty News

The iconic Meranghir bungalow at Malabar Hill, acquired by a section of the Godrej family for Rs 372 crore last month, will be used as a family home and won’t be demolished.
It is learnt that the family of Smita Crishna, sister of Jamshyed and cousin of Adi Godrej, plans to refurbish, restore and live in the bungalow. “There is no question of razing it and constructing a high-rise building,” said a source close to the family. The media-shy Smita, married to theatre personality Vijay Crishna, has let it known to friends that she intends to move in with her husband and two daughters. She refused to comment on the ongoing controversy, but those close to her said the family is “pained” at the insinuations and allegations about the future of this property.

The house, once occupied by Homi Bhabha, father of India’s atomic energy programme, is embroiled in a legal battle—atomic energy employees, the state government and the Centre have intervened to convert it into a national monument.

“Smita Crishna was searching for a bungalow property for personal use since a long time,” said people in the know. In fact, she is the only member of the Godrej family to reside in an apartment—Crishnas occupy a penthouse at Grand Paradi building at Kemps Corner. The other Godrejs—Jamshyed and Adi —live in bungalows in south Mumbai. Jamshyed Godrej and cousin Nadir and families live at 40 D, Ridge Road, a ground plus three storey bungalow. Adi Godrej has two sea-facing bungalows at Walkeshwar and Juhu.

It was Jamshyed who took part in the auction last month on behalf of his sister. “Their only intention is to live together after improving the bungalow’s physical condition,” said sources. “The late Jamshed Bhabha’s will need to be respected. So must the desire of the new buyers,” they said. Jamshed, who was brother of Homi Bhabha, died in 2007, and willed the Meranghir estate to the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA).

“The Godrejs have been patrons and regular visitors to the NCPA. The Godrej Dance Theatre at the NCPA was donated by the family in the mid-1980s,” said Khushroo Suntook, chairman of NCPA. “This is Godrej money going to NCPA. The opposition to the sale of the bungalow is based on specious grounds,” said a person known to the Godrejs. Suntook added it would be a blow to Mumbai’s cultural scene if the sale were to fall through. “We have kept all our expansion plans on hold.”

Recently, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said he would ask the Centre to declare the bungalow heritage property. Employees of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have petitioned the Centre and moved court against the sale, stating the home should be converted into an atomic energy museum. Last month, the prime minister’s office, too, intervened to stop the property from going into private hands. The Department of Atomic Energy approached Bombay high court, saying it planned to acquire the property and convert it into a museum. It feared the bungalow may be pulled down.

Source: Nauzer K Bharucha,TNN

News Published Under:   Mumbai, Real Estate India | Comments Off on Bhabha property to be used as family home