MELBOURNE: A 70-million-dollar unfinished mega mansion dubbed ‘Taj Mahal on-the-Swan’ owned by controversial Indian billionaire businessman Pankaj Oswal in Australia’s Perth is set to be torn down by the city council, amid allegations of unpaid taxes and violation of building code.
Pankaj and wife Radhika Oswals had planned to build the Indian-style mansion in Perth, where the Swan River meets the southwest coast. Had it been finished, the palace would have included seven domes, a temple, gym, swimming pool and parking for 17 cars.
The residence was said to emerge as Perth’s most expensive home on the 6,600 square metre block of land in luxurious riverside suburb of Peppermint Grove for which the couple had already paid more than 22 million dollars.
Its construction stopped in 2010 when Oswals’ fertilizer empire collapsed and they left Australia amid allegations of unpaid taxes. They are now locked in a legal battle against the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group for allegedly undervaluing shares of their company Burrup fertilisers to recoup millions of dollars in loans.
The couple made an undertaking in State Administrative Tribunal last year to demolish the building by September 30 this year but till last month no preparations were made.
The council was owed 108,000 dollars in unpaid rates and Australian Tax Office has freezed the sale of the property over non-payment of taxes.
The demolition contract was now finalised and work was likely to start early next month, according to media reports.
The building is to be demolised also because it is dilapidated and unfinhished in contravention of the council’s building code.
The council has estimated the demolition cost at around 300,000 dollars and said it would pursue the Oswals to recover the costs.
The couple will continue to own the land. Oswals are fighting the tax office and have separate legal cases against the ANZ Bank, who they are suing for damages over losses they incurred when the fertiliser plant went into receivership.