Bollywood financer, Mumbai realtor Yusuf Lakdawala dies

Prominent realtor and Bollywood financer Yusuf Lakdawala, who was arrested for grabbing a plot of land belonging to legendary author Mulk Raj Anand, passed away on Thursday due to cancer complications, officials said.

Lakdawala, 76, was nabbed by the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in 2019, and later by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 2020 in connection with the land-grabbing of the plot owned by the late writer in Khandala hill station.

Lodged at the Arthur Road Central Jail, he was admitted to the jail hospital and then rushed to the Sir J. J. Hospital for treatment but succumbed this morning.

In August, Lakdawala’s lawyer Abhinav Chandrachud had sought bail on medical grounds to enable him to get proper treatment in a hospital, and submitted his latest medical report to the court suggesting the cancer had spread to other parts of his body.

The jail authorities had in the past taken him to the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital to check for the relapse of cancer which had been cured around 12 years ago.

Opposing the bail plea, ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar had argued that instead the court could direct the jail authorities to provide the necessary medical treatment to the accused in custody.

The jail authorities had submitted that they would arrange for all necessary treatment required by Lakdawala.

First nabbed by the EOW when he was trying to flee to London from Ahmedabad International Airport, he got bail but was rearrested in a money-laundering case registered by the ED in the same case and was in the jail since then.

The EOW alleged that Lakdawala had forged documents to help him grab the huge Khandala plot of Anand – who died in 2004 – by counterfeiting signatures on the papers dating back to 1949.

In 2010, he was also accused of allegedly encroaching upon the properties belonging to late actress Sadhana in Santacruz, but was later acquitted in the case.