Indian billionaire could lose 'world's most expensive home' over claims the land was sold illegally
- 27-storey tower built on land 'earmarked for children's education'
Last updated at 9:42 AM on 3rd August 2011
India's richest man could lose his 27-storey family home - thought to be the world's most expensive - because of claims the land was sold illegally.
Mukesh Ambani is facing a federal probe into the construction of his luxury £615million tower block on Mumbai's Arabian seafront because government ministers claim the plot had been reserved for the education of Muslim children.
The land was sold to Mr Ambani by the Currimbhoy Ebrahim Koja Orphanage Trust for £3million (215million Indian rupees) in 2002.
Stunning: Antilia, built by tycoon Mukesh Ambani for his family of four, towers 27-storeys over Mumbai, India
The deal was approved by the Mumbai Charity Commissioner.
But Mahammed Arif Naseem Khan, the Maharashtra Minority Affairs and Wakf minister, said the deal was not given the green light by the Maharashtra State Wakf Board, which looks after property or land reserved for religious or charitable purposes.
Glitz and glamour: Crystal chandeliers take up most of the ceiling in the ballroom. There is also a stage for entertainers and a kitchen which can serve hundreds of guests
Fine rugs, chandeliers and mirrors feature heavily in the numerous sitting areas lthroughout the building
The Board has now launched legal action to recover the 48,782 square foot site.
ND Pathan, its chief executive, said neither the children's charity nor the charity commissioner were authorised to allow it to be sold.
Mr Khan said: 'We have appointed an inquiry commission to investigate the matter and the probe is still on.'
He added that a decision on whether to call in India's Central Bureau of Investigation would not be made until the current inquiry had been completed.
Extravagant: The 27-storey property towering over Mumbai. It features three helipads, a swimming pool and a four-floor hanging garden
Tycoon: Mukesh Ambani, who owns much of oil and retail giants Reliance Industries, paid £44million to build the property
Each floor of the tower is made from different materials to give an individual look. Numerous powder rooms and reception areas lead off the lobby which has nine elevators
Mr Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries and the world's ninth richest man, with an estimated worth of £16billion, moved his wife and children into the 570ft tower last year.
The property, called Antilia, has three helipads, six floors of parking, a ballroom, several swimming pools and a 50-seat cinema.
The dispute over the sale, a widespread problem across India and particularly in big cities like Mumbai where land is scarce, has been rumbling since 2004 when the Wakf board asked Mr Ambani why the land should not be returned to the charity.
The opposition leader in the state assembly, Eknath Khadse, of the Bharatiya Janata Party, claimed that the plot was actually worth five billion rupees.
A Reliance Industries spokesman said that the matter was between the Wakf board and the orphanage and had nothing to do with the company.
He said: 'It was always the property of the Wakf. The orphans living at the home were moved to another property at the time of the sale.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2021807/Billionaire-Indian-tycoons-615m-home-seized-claims-land-sold-illegally.html#ixzz1Ty61hCvY