New Delhi: Facing prospects of his bungalow in Mumbai being auctioned to recover unpaid loans, Bollywood actor Sunny Deol has offered to settle all outstanding dues, prompting state-owned lender 'Bank of Baroda' to drop auction proceedings for the property.
The lender issued a statement on Monday, saying that Deol has offered to settle the dues, hours after it withdraw the public notice to auction the villa owned by the actor and sitting BJP Member of Parliament, citing technical reasons, a move that was questioned by Congress.
"In the meantime, the borrower has approached the bank for settling the dues as per the sale notice published on August 20, wherein the borrower/guarantors were notified that they are entitled to redeem the securities by paying the outstanding dues/costs/charges and expenses at any time before the sale is conducted," the bank said.
Bank of Baroda said the auction notice was withdrawn after the borrower agreed to settle dues as well as due to certain technical reasons.
Explaining the technical reasons, the second largest public sector lender said the total dues did not specify the exact quantum of dues to be recovered. Also, the sale notice was based on a symbolic possession of the property as per Rule 8(6) of the Security Interest (Enforcement) Rules 2002.
The bank said, an application to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate sent on August 1, 2023 seeking physical possession of the property is pending. "Since the unit is running as conveyed to us by the borrower, sale/action will be initiated as per the provisions of the Sarfaesi Act, once the physical possession is taken."
Accordingly, the sale notice is withdrawn as per the normal industry practice followed in other cases as well, the lender said in a fresh statement.
In a public notice on Sunday, Bank of Baroda had said it would e-auction 'Sunny Villa' in the Juhu area of the city on September 25.
However, in a corrigendum issued on Monday, the bank said the e-auction notice published on August 20 stands withdrawn due to technical reasons.
The Gurdaspur MP, whose latest movie Gadar 2 is a box office success having already grossed over Rs 300 crore since the release last week, has been in default on a Rs 55.99 crore loan from the bank, interest and penalty, since December 2022.
As per Sunday's notice, the bank, which has attached the property, had fixed the reserve price for the auction at Rs 51.43 crore and an earnest money deposit of Rs 5.14 crore.
Apart from Sunny Villa, the 599.44-square metre property also houses Sunny Sounds, which is owned by the Deols, and is the corporate guarantor to the loan, while Sunny's actor-politician father Dharmendra is the personal guarantor of the debt, according to the auction notice.
The notice had further said the Deols had the option of clearing the dues of the bank to prevent the auction under the provisions of the Sarfaesi Act 2002.
Deol has been representing the Gurdaspur constituency of Punjab since 2019 when he won the election with a landslide margin against Congress' Sunil Jhakar. The seat for long was represented by another actor Vinod Khanna from BJP.
The matter sparked a political row with opposition Congress raising questions about the Bank of Baroda withdrawing the e-auction notice for the Juhu bungalow.
In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "Yesterday afternoon the nation got to know that Bank of Baroda had put up the Juhu residence of BJP MP Sunny Deol for e-auction since he has not paid up Rs 56 crore owed to the Bank. This morning, in less than 24 hours, the nation has got to know that the Bank of Baroda has withdrawn the auction notice due to 'technical reasons'."
"Wonder who triggered these 'technical reasons'?" he asked.