The Supreme Court on Thursday asked thespian superstar Dilip Kumar to deposit Rs 20 crore with its registry as part payment to a Mumbai-based real estate firm with whom the agreement to develop his prime Pali Hill property ran into rough weather a decade ago.
The actor had entered into the agreement with Prajita Developers Pvt Ltd for developing his property, measuring 2412 square yards.
The dispute arose later as no construction was raised and the veteran actor wanted back the plot whose possession was with the firm.
A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar asked the Bollywood actor to deposit the amount in the form of demand draft within four weeks and inform the firm.
"Upon the receipt of such intimation, Prajita shall withdraw all the security personnel deployed by it and handover possession of the property in question within a period of seven days from the date of the receipt of the above-mentioned intimation to the appellant in the presence of Commissioner of Police, Mumbai or any other senior police officer subordinate to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai to be nominated by the Commissioner of Police.
"The Commissioner of Police or his nominee shall draw a Panchnama of the fact of the handing over of the property by Prajita to the appellant and file the same in the Registry of this Court within a week from the date of the handing over of the possession.
"Upon the filing of the Panchnama, Prajita shall be at liberty to withdraw the amount of Rs 20 crore deposited by the appellant pursuant to this order", the bench, also comprising Justice S Abdul Nazeer, said.
To deal with further claim of the firm that the actor owed it more, the top court appointed former SC judge Justice P Venkatarama Reddy as the arbitrator to decide whether Prajita was entitled for more as damages apart from Rs 20 crore.
"The background of the facts and circumstances of the case whether Prajita would be entitled for any damages apart from receiving the above-mentioned amount of Rs 20 crore from the appellant is a matter which requires some examination. We therefore, deem it appropriate to refer the said question for resolution by arbitration between the appellant and Prajita", the bench said.
In March 2016, the apex court had granted relief to Dilip Kumar by rejecting a plea to restrain him from creating third party rights over the Pali hill property till the arbitration of the dispute with a private developer.
The apex court had, however, said that there was an impending arbitration and the arbitrators will proceed to decide the dispute as and when the arbitration proceedings take place, uninfluenced by any observation.
According to the original agreement, the owner as well as the developers had to share 50 per cent each of the residential flats to be built on the land.
The Prajita developers had thus obtained the leasehold rights in the property together with the bungalow standing there on by virtue of lease of September 25, 1953. But the developers had failed to raise any construction.