After nearly 19 years of legal battle with Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his family, 78-year-old Doreen Fernandes has finally received what was due to her from the sale of her ancestral bungalow.
Fernandes got a final settlement of Rs 8.41 crore from Parvesh Construction, which belongs to Bhujbal’s nephew, Sameer Bhujbal.
Doreen has faced many hardships in the past two decades. She even lost her husband, Claude Fernandes, in 2021, leaving her as the sole caregiver for her three autistic sons.
Social activist and former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Anjali Damania brought the plight of the Fernandes family to public attention. Damania initially raised the issue in 2014-15 when Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer, a former MP, faced arrest, but it soon died down.
However, after the payment reached the Fernandes family, the Bhujbals said, "We have examined all the papers; they have submitted all the documents. The payment has been made."
Taking to X, Damania on Monday posted pictures of Doreen’s passbook which displayed the amount credited to her bank account.
She wrote, "I’m happy to say that the Bhujbal family has finally paid the dues of Doreen Fernandes after almost 20 years. Doreen has now received her full share of the payment. The 78-year-old mother no longer has to worry about the future of her 3 autistic children."
She also thanked Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for making the Bhujbals pay their dues.
"I have always staged a strong with the Pawar family, despite that, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule helped us a lot in this matter. I respectfully thank her for the same," the AAP leader wrote in her X post.
Damania said she fought many battles against corruption. However, she "got a huge bit of satisfaction" from this battle.
Last month, Damania had threatened to sit on a dharma (protest) with Doreen and her three autistic sons, but the police denied her permission. Following this, she held a press conference, which may have reached the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, prompting their intervention.
Doreen expressed her happiness, and said that her three sons' future was now secure.
She said, "It has been a long wait. I had to attend many meetings. I am thankful for the intervention from Anjali Damania. I will have to save this money so that my sons have a comfortable life. They have special needs and have to be taken care of. The amount paid is for three flats. We were promised five flats, but I am satisfied with what we got. We are aiming to have a better life in the future.”
WHAT IS THE CASE?
Doreen Fernandes claimed that her family had given their bungalows to Rahejas for redevelopment in 1994, exchanging them for five flats. The developers sold it to Sameer Bhujbal's Parvesh Construction, which built a multi-storey building there. However, the family received nothing.
Earlier, Sameer Bhujbal denied the charges, and said that he had bought the property from the Raheja company. He offered them Rs 50 lakh on humanitarian grounds, but Doreen refused it.