Located in a quiet, tree-lined avenue, B-18 is owned by a joint family and has a big verandah, a terrace, spacious rooms. Some scenes of the film Vicky Donor, which had Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam and Annu Kapoor in the lead roles, were shot in this house.
Mahesh Sharma, owner of the house and a former office-bearer of the resident welfare association, confirmed he had accepted token payment for a 11-month lease.
“Nothing is final yet. There is no agreement. Annaji had come to see the house and he liked it. He has already paid token money, not Rs 50,000 or Rs 1 lakh as is being said. The amount he paid was nominal. But yes, we have taken it. If the agreement is finalised, we will let it out on a 11-month lease renewable every year,” Sharma said.
He said India Against Corruption activists Arvind Kejriwal and Arvind Gaud had tried to dissuade Hazare from renting a house. “They have internal issues. All leaders of their organisation will meet in Mumbai on November 10 to decide whether this house should be taken or not,” he said.
Sharma’s elder brother Rajesh said Hazare and his supporters were planning to rent a section of the ground floor. This includes two bedrooms, a drawing room and a dining room, kitchen and bathrooms. He said Hazare will be also be able to use the verandah and hold “baithaks (meetings) there”.
“How long can Annaji stay in Maharashtra Bhawan? He needs a base here. That is why he approached us after spotting an advertisement we placed in a newspaper,” Rajesh said.
Rajesh and Mahesh live in the other half of the ground floor house with their families. A two-room set has also been constructed on the terrace. The house was built by their father 35 years ago. The brothers run a joint business in Noida.
Mahesh said they would have given Anna the room “free if we could afford it” since he is such a “great man with a great cause”.
“If Anna comes to live here, we understand there will be visitors, media and police. We will face it when the time comes. We are only concerned with the rent. Who takes the house is immaterial. If BJP or Congress politicians approach us, we will even let out our house to them,” he said.