Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s firm Matoshree Realtors is all set to redevelop Laxmi Nivas, the three-storeyed building in Matunga that was at the centre of controversy following the mysterious death of one of its tenants, Ramesh Kini, in 1996.
Kini was found dead at a movie theatre in Pune in July 1996. It was then alleged that he was killed because he had refused to vacate his house to pave the way for redevelopment. The incident kicked up a political storm, with Kini’s widow Sheela alleging that Raj Thackeray was involved in the matter.
Both the Criminal Investiga-tion Department (CID) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) gave Raj a clean chit. The name of Raj’s aide, Ashutosh Rane, figured as an accused in the case, but Rane was let off by the court.
A source closely linked to the developments said Matoshree Realtors will sign the final agreement with the building’s tenants soon. The building’s owner, Laxmikant Shah, and his son Suman have given their nod, and the residents too have agreed to the proposal, the source said. It is not known if Kini’s widow, Sheela has consented to the plan.
While Raj Thackeray and Suman Shah were not available for comment, Sheela Kini refused to speak. MNS legislator from Dadar-Mahim, Nitin Sardesai, a partner in Matoshree Realtors, did not deny the developments but said he did not wish to speak on the matter.
According to the source, Matoshree Realtors has agreed to give the tenants 12 per cent more area than they currently have, in the redeveloped building. It will also provide a corpus fund of Rs 1,000 per sq ft for maintenance.
In addition, tenants have been promised discounts on the market price if they wish to acquire more space than what has been agreed upon.
The realty firm plans to construct luxury apartments, one on each floor, in the new building. Real estate rates in the area are currently in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 per sq ft.
A series of meetings have taken place in the past few months to work out the final plan.
One of Matoshree Realtors’ partners, Ashutosh Abhyankar, has represented the firm at the meetings, sources said.
Matoshree Realtors, which has several ongoing projects in Mumbai and Pune, entered the big league when it won the bid to acquire Kohinoor Mills at Dadar in partnership with Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s Kohinoor Group for Rs 421 crore. Subsequently, Raj sold off his stake and exited from the deal.