Bank of Baroda's about-face: Sunny Deol's bungalow auction deferred
Proceedings halted in the absence of the bungalow’s physical possession by the bank and the actors bid to repay dues
In a surprising turn of events, the state-owned Bank of Baroda issued an auction notice for actor and BJP MP Sunny Deol's luxurious bungalow situated in Mumbai's prestigious Juhu neighbourhood, only to withdraw it within 24 hours. The bank cited "technical reasons" for the sudden reversal, stating that this was in line with normal industry practices observed in similar cases.
The notice, which went viral through the media and public, had initially been issued to recover outstanding dues of Rs 75 crore from the Bollywood actor turned politician. However, as it withdrew the notice the Bank of Baroda said that the total dues did not specify the quantum of dues to be recovered. The bank's statement also revealed that the notice was based on a symbolic possession of the property, and they had applied for physical possession.
Sunny Deol, a prominent public figure and a Member of Parliament representing Gurdaspur in Punjab, had reportedly informed the bank that the property was still in use. Consequently, the sale of the bungalow will now proceed as per the provisions of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act. This act empowers banks and financial institutions to take possession of assets and properties of credit defaulters without court intervention.
The bank's notice further stated, "In the meantime, the borrower has approached the Bank for settling the dues as per the sale notice published on August 20, 2023, where 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."
Sunny Deol's Juhu villa had initially been slated for e-auction on September 25, with the bank seeking to recover Rs 56 crore. The actor-turned-politician had been in default on a Rs 55.99 crore loan from the Bank of Baroda since December 2022. In its initial announcement, the bank had stated that the auction for the property, known as ‘Sunny Villa,’ would commence at Rs 51.43 crore, with a minimum bid amount set at Rs 5.14 crore.
The abrupt reversal in the auction proceedings left many puzzled, as the bank had previously published a notice in a national newspaper on August 19, 2023, indicating that the villa would indeed be e-auctioned on September 25 due to non-payment. According to the bank's statement, in order to secure the loan from the Bank of Baroda, Sunny Deol identified his brother Bobby Deol, whose true name is Vijay Singh Deol, their father Dharmendra Singh Deol, and Sunny Deol's business Sunny Sounds Pvt Ltd as guarantors and corporate guarantors.
Under banking regulations, a loan becomes a non-performing asset (NPA) if the repayment of interest, as well as the principal amount, is defaulted for a period of 90 days. Banks are then required to allocate funds to cover potential losses from such loans, often resorting to auctioning properties to recover outstanding debts.
The sudden withdrawal of the auction notice has undoubtedly added a layer of intrigue to this ongoing financial saga involving a prominent Bollywood personality and a nationalised bank. As the matter unfolds, it remains to be seen how Sunny Deol and the Bank of Baroda will resolve the outstanding dues and the fate of the Juhu villa.