Bandra’s St Anne’s church was forced to pay Rs 19 lakh to the municipal corporation and save its property, Xavierene Court, from auction before the corporation’s August 21 deadline.
The civic body had issued a notice to the church, owner of the property, after Deanne Pandey, the owner of Play Health and Fitness Private Ltd, who has leased the property from the church, defaulted on payment of dues.
“The Pandeys did not pay the dues despite several reminders issued to them over the past year,” said Anil Joseph, president of the property cell of the church.
The property cell at the church claims that the Pandeys owe the church a sum of Rs 38 lakh, which include the BMC payment, pending rent and income tax liabilities.
Pandey’s lease expires on August 31 and the church authority had sent them a notice to vacate the premises three months ago. “If they don’t vacate the premises and evade their dues, we will take strong legal action against them,” said Livy Fernandes, member of the church’s property cell.
The Pandeys did not respond to several text messages that Hindustan Times sent them.
The money raised from the rent of the 4,000-sq-ft property was used by the St Anne’s Church to run a church in Karjat and help poor parishioners there.
“This money was supposed to be used for poor and marginalised children and for our adopted church. What bothers us most is that he is not cheating an individual but a church that is trying to help the underprivileged,” said Joesph.
Various residents associations, Catholic associations and activists have promised support to the church if they need to start a legal battle with the Pandeys.