3 October 2016: Aptly named Taj Mahal on the Swan, the mansion Pankaj and Radhika Oswal had commissioned “was intended to be Australia’s most expensive” home, “an architectural wonder” the latter once called it in a television interview.
With an estimated construction cost of $70 million, it probably would have been a tourist attraction of sort for the affluent Perth suburb of Peppermint Grove.
However, a dispute with ANZ prompted the Oswals to leave Australia in 2011 turning what would have been Australia’s first $70 million home into an eyesore hated both by the local government body and neighbours. Today, they finally got what they wanted for the past few years as heavy-duty demolition equipment brought down the first of the seven domes of the never-completed Taj Mahal , a 9News video footage showed on Monday.
Some six years on since the seeds of that cherished dream were sown in a wealthy Perth suburb, the Australian Taj Mahal was today razed to the ground even before the marbles were laid! Mr and Mrs Oswal and the local council agreed to tear down the domed half-built Indian-inspired mansion following lengthy and bitter court proceedings.
Amazed onlookers held their mobiles phones and clapped as the unrealised “home sweet home” project of the famously vegetarian billionaires was brought down to one big pile of controlled ruins – a definite end to their dream of making Australian home.
The reported demolition cost of the property is so high that it may be enough to buy a small family home in some quite little country town.
9News claimed that it would cost the council $300,000 to bring down the home whereas ABC put the figure at $89,000 plus GST. The Oswals are expected to eventually take up the bills, reports indicated.
The Indian-born tycoons had already left Australia when the tragic demolition of their futile project commenced. A spokesperson for the Indian couple told ABC that they are currently in Europe.
The tycoons still own the 6,600-square-metre block of land. Oswals’ spokesman Michael Smith told reporters that the couple is already in Europe and they are considering the best way to get rid of the prized riverfront real estate.
The Oswals arrived back in the country for their ongoing legal proceedings (around their now obsolete fertiliser company) last April whereupon the ATO slammed Departure Prohibition Orders on them because of Mrs Oswal’s unpaid $190 million tax bill. They told Western Australian that they always had plans to come to Australia and pay what they owed to the ATO, if any. It is understood they did so following which the travel restriction was lifted allowing their hasty departure from their ex-country of residence.
In 2010, PerthNow dubbed them the most talked about billionaires in Western Australia, specially after they announced their ambitious project to build Australia’s most expensive home at an estimated cost of $70 million. (The riverfront mansion being built over eight blocks will feature seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a fitness centre, beauty salon, dance area, meditation room, telescope room, waterways, extensive gardens, parking for 17 cars and a swimming pool 10 times the size of an average backyard.)
It was said then that Oswals were more talked about in Perth’s elite circles than local billionaires like Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart.
While they were still in Australia, the Oswals were regularly in the news for their almost-extremist vegetarianism. In particular, Radhika’s tirade against their meat-eating Australian construction workers came under the spotlight of the local media.
Editor’s Note: This article has been edited. 4Oct16 1.26 AEST