Mantri Square mall in Bengaluru was closed for three hours on Monday, November 15 by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) due to pending property tax. This is not the first time that the mall has been shut due to unpaid dues, and had been shut just one-and-a-half months ago for the same reason.
According to the Deccan Herald, BBMP said that property tax hasnâ€™t been paid for two years, and remained unpaid despite multiple notices. BBMP Joint Commissioner B Shivaswamy (West) told the newspaper in September, after they paid a visit to the mall, that the mall owners paid Rs 5 crore at the time and asked for time to pay the dues. However, after that, the owners have still not paid their dues.
It was opened on Monday after the owners reportedly asked the BBMP for 15 days to pay up the remaining dues. On September 30, the mall had been closed down for a few hours as it had not paid its property taxes for 2018-19. The Indian Express reported in October that the total outstanding amount was Rs 27.22 crore as well as interest of Rs 12.26 crore on the arrears. It was during this time that the owners paid Rs 5 crore, and also reportedly handed over a requisition letter stating that the dues would be cleared by October 31. Prior to the mall being closed down, the BBMP earlier in September had issued a notice stating that action would be initiated against the mall over its unpaid dues, which included closure, freezing its accounts and auctioning off its assets, reported The Hindu.
The Indian Express reported that for the dues of 2018-19, the owners had earlier given a cheque of Rs 10.43 crore, which bounced. This matter was also taken to the court. The mall had also been shuttered for seven hours in February this year for the same reason after the mall did not pay up even after notices were issued.
This is not all of Mantri Mallâ€™s troubles. Just before the pandemic, the regional commissioner had told the BBMP that the Mantri Mall and the adjacent Mantri Greens apartment encroached on BBMP land, and the BBMP wanted to demolish parts of the building. In March 2020, the High Court stayed the move to demolish parts of the building.