Mumbai: ‘Mehrangir’, the iconic bungalow of Homi J Bhabha, father of India’s atomic energy programme, here was on Wednesday sold at an auction for Rs 372 crore, despite demands to turn it into a museum.
The highest bidder, whose identity was not disclosed at his request, landed the sprawling property at plush Malabar Hill which went under the hammer at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), its custodian.
The property fetched Rs 115 crore more than the reserve price of Rs 257 crore.
“As per the request of the winning bidder, the identity will not be disclosed at this stage,” NCPA said in a release.
The three-storey bungalow with a built-up area of over 15,000 sq ft on a plot measuring 1,593 sq m, offers a beautiful view of the sea.
After Bhabha’s death in a plane crash 1966, his brother Jamshed, a patron of art and culture, became the custodian of the estate.
On Jamshed’s death in 2007, the property was transferred to NCPA, an institution he had nurtured. Some employees of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) had recently petitioned the Centre and moved the Bombay High Court against the sale and sought the bungalow to be converted into an atomic energy museum.
The high court had on Monday refused to grant a stay against the sale, but posted the matter for hearing on June 23, saying the auction could be revoked, if required.