This couple’s Taj Mahal costing Rs. 265 crore to be demolished

perth 1Couple who own the derelict $70 million ‘Taj Mahal’ are planning to demolish the controversial eyesore and build luxury apartments – after returning to Australia to fight a $32 million tax bill

Pankaj and Radhika Oswal are set to demolish their ambitious ‘Taj Mahal on the Swan’ development in Perth, WA

In its place, the couple are planning to build luxury apartments and plan to keep one of the units for themselves

The couple returned to Australia last week after a five-year absence and have been barred from leaving the country

Australian Tax Office alleges Ms Oswal owes them $32 million in unpaid taxes, which the couple has denied

Indian glamour couple Pankaj and Radhika Oswal are set to demolish their ambitious ‘Taj Mahal on Swan’ development to make way for luxury apartments.

The entrepreneurs returned to Australia last week after a five-year absence and were barred from leaving the country when the Australian Tax Office (ATO) slapped them with a Departure Prohibition Order.

But Ms Oswal said they were within their rights to knock down the Peppermint Grove property, west of Perth, and undertake another development as long as they did not sell it until their tax matter was settled, The West Australian reported.

perth 2Indian glamour couple Pankaj and Radhika Oswal are set to demolish their ambitious ‘Taj Mahal on the Swan’ development to make way for luxury apartments

Indian glamour couple Pankaj and Radhika Oswal are set to demolish their ambitious ‘Taj Mahal on the Swan’ development to make way for luxury apartments

The couple agreed to knock down the eyesore last year and it is set to happen before September.

As part of this agreement, they have been asked to split up the 6,600sqm block that overlooks Swan River and start another project.

Ms Oswal said the couple would think about keeping one of the units in the planned luxury apartment block.

‘My younger daughter was born in Perth and she has a special attachment to the city, so it’s definite we would keep one of the properties,’ she told The West Australian.

‘If we do choose to live here or temporarily reside here depends on the settlement.’

The couple are in Sydney ahead of two court cases against ANZ Bank in May and to face court action from the ATO over Ms Oswal’s tax bill, which they have denied is owed.

The entrepreneurs returned to Australia last week after a five-year absence and have not been allowed to leave the country when the Australian Tax Office (ATO) slapped them with a Departure Prohibition Order

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The entrepreneurs returned to Australia last week after a five-year absence and have not been allowed to leave the country when the Australian Tax Office (ATO) slapped them with a Departure Prohibition Order

Free runners make the most of the abandoned ‘Taj Mahal’ in Perth

Initially it was claimed Ms Oswal owed a staggering $190 million but this figure has been revised to $32 million by an independent auditor hired by ATO, according to the couple’s lawyers.

Once the tax matter was settled, Ms Oswal said she could start building her dream home constructed with the Indian principles of Vastu Shastra in mind.

Her plan boasts six bedrooms, a temple house, an observatory complete with its own revolving roof, extensive gardens with water features, and parking spaces for 17 cars.

The Oswals’ Burrup Fertilisers empire collapsed in 2010 and the couple left Perth and moved to Dubai a year later, leaving behind an eyesore mansion dubbed the ‘Taj Mahal on the Swan’, which was estimated to be worth up to $70 million when it was completed.

They refused to return in February to give evidence in a case of fraud brought against them.

The pair are seeking about $700 million in damages for Ms Oswal, who claims she signed over her 35 per cent share to ANZ Bank on a contract that promised the Burrup Fertiliser plant would be sold for at least $2 billion.

Mr Oswal is also seeking about $400 million in damages for losses on his shares, with Yara International and Apache Energy named in the action.

After leaving in 2011, the couple left their Peppermint Grove property. It was expected to be worth up to $70 million when complete, but was covered in graffiti since being abandoned

After leaving in 2011, the couple left their Peppermint Grove property. It was expected to be worth up to $70 million when complete, but was covered in graffiti since being abandoned

An aerial view of the 6,600-square-metre Peppermint Grove property the couple abandoned five years ago

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view of the 6,600-square-metre Peppermint Grove property the couple abandoned five years ago

They also have a separate claim against the bank that alleges Mrs Oswal was forced into signing over her share to ANZ on threats that she would be sent to jail and that their children, who attend boarding school in Geneva, would become orphans.

‘When I landed in Australia, I told my wife Radhika that … we might be here for six months, or we might be here for a month, or we might be here for six years,’ Mr Oswal said.

The order means the couple will not be able to leave Australia for a period of time.

Mrs Oswal still reportedly resents ANZ after signing over her shares, on what she alleges was a guaranteed floor that would have left them plenty, even after the $860 million debt was paid.

‘So basically … they raped me of my wealth…,’ she said.

Mr Oswal’s wealthy industrialist father passed away in March and he reportedly entered a dispute with his mother over the family inheritance.

‘My father passed away without a will and as my father’s eldest son I have a right to a law-defined inheritance of his personal estate,’ he told Press Trust of India.

After leaving in 2011, the couple left their Peppermint Grove property. It was expected to be worth up to $70 million when complete, but was covered in graffiti since being abandoned.

Peppermint Grove shire president Rachel Thomas said police were regularly called to the unfinished property

Peppermint Grove shire president Rachel Thomas said police were regularly called to the unfinished property

The Indian-style property was listed on Google maps as a ‘tourist attraction’ was also popular with parkour enthusiasts

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The Indian-style property was listed on Google maps as a ‘tourist attraction’ was also popular with parkour enthusiasts

The local council has long wanted it gone and was delighted in October of last year when a breakthrough was reached.

Peppermint Grove shire president Rachel Thomas said an application filed by Ms Oswal with the State Administrative Tribunal to prevent the demolition was withdrawn.

‘We believed we had a pretty good case and they’ve obviously decided that perhaps we did have a good case,’ she said at the time.

Ms Thomas said police were regularly called to the unfinished property.

‘It was a real nuisance for the immediate neighbours in particular because of the antisocial behaviour. And with the graffiti, it was a real blot on the landscape,’ she said.

‘We’ve had people smoking dope in there … noisy parties … it [was] a real problem.’

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