‘MEA to acquire Mumbai’s Jinnah House’ to host top-level meets

NEW DELHI: The Jinnah House here would be converted into a venue along the lines of Hyderabad House in New Delhi, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday.

The venue will be renovated into an international cultural centre to hold meetings with international delegations.

In a letter to city Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Mangal Prabhat Lodha, she said that the ministry is in process of “transferring the ownership of the property in our name”.

The EAM also underscored that the Prime Minister’s Office has approved the property’s transfer from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The letter was a response to Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Lodha’s previously sent letter to Swaraj where he had pushed for the MEA to take the property in their possession due to its deteriorating condition.

“Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) instructed us to renovate and refurbish Jinnah House to develop it on the pattern of facilities available in Hyderabad House in Delhi. Accordingly, approval of PMO was sought for transfer of the property from ICCR to our Ministry. PMO has now accorded necessary approval,” Swaraj wrote in the letter.

Jinnah House has been the subject of a legal battle between the government of India and Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia, who in 2007 moved the Bombay high court to regain control of the property. Wadia died in November last year.

Legislator Lodha welcomed the decision and told ANI, “The government has decided to convert the Jinnah House (Mumbai) into an international cultural centre. It was a long-pending demand for which other people and I have been trying for the last 10 years. I’m thankful to Modi Ji and Sushma Swaraj Ji for this decision.”

After independence, the Jinnah House was used by the British High Commissioner until 1982. Under the ICCR, the house converted to a Sub Regional Centre for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).