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NRI barricades himself inside Solent fort
to prevent sale of his 5 star Hotel

London, March 07, 2008
Lal Singh

NRI Harmesh Pooni, 42, of Birmingham, property developer has barricaded himself at "No Man's Land Fort" in the Solent and threatened 'invaders' with court action. It's only a matter of time and his banner described, "you can have my fort when you prize my cold dead fingers from the lighthouse."

Mr. Pooni said: "The fort is mine and no-one else has the right to sell it. Even if they got an order to evict me I shall carry on fighting it in the courts."

In 2004, he bought the 150-year-old No Man's Land Fort in the Solent for £5m and and the fort was converted into a five-star hotel with some 21 guest bedrooms and has two helipads. It is surrounded by sea and features a swimming pool, sauna, gym, tennis court, bars and a stunning central atrium. He rented it out for £25, 000 per day and also gained planning permission to build a 2 million pounds marina but it was shut down after the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease was found there.

No Man's Land Fort is one of the most unique and unusual venues in England licensed for weddings. Offering seclusion and security combined with pure luxury and high quality standards, it is an ideal location for those wanting to keep away from the prying eyes of the media. A stunning location and total privacy aside, the Fort can provide a complete wedding package tailor made to suit the individual occasion. From the initial enquiry to the honeymoon, everything can be arranged to ensure a stress-free occasion.

No Man's Land Sea Fort is one of four forts built in the Solent in the 19th Century to help protect Portsmouth, originally from the threat of Napoleon though that had passed by the time of completion. Subsequently, it played a strategic role in the defence of the English Channel during WWI, and had anti-aircraft guns during WWII. The nearest place to see the fort from land is The Esplanade at Seaview, Nettlestone.

Island Pulse reported: The No Mans Land Fort is just one of the assets being sold off by administrators at KPMG to recoup up to £100m following the collapse of Lexi after an alleged commercial property fraud. Shaid Luqman, the former young entrepreneur of the year who ran Lexi, was jailed last year.

Pooni's financial backers have since gone bust and administrators KPMG assumed ownership of the Grade II listed building and instructed estate agents to put it on the market for £4m. KPMG spokeswoman, said:

  • Mr Pooni has never been the freeholder of No Man's Land Fort but was a director of Bob's Leisure Limited a company, which was the registered freeholder of the fort, having purchased it using monies borrowed from Lexi Holdings Plc.
  • Bob's Leisure Limited went into administration on 26 October 2004 and Mr Pooni was made bankrupt on 23 January 2006.
  • Lexi Holdings Plc were left as a creditor of Bob's Leisure Limited as the loan had not been repaid.
  • Mr Pooni is trespassing on the fort

Pooni has moved into the lighthouse and is refusing to allow anyone to land on the fort either by boat or helicopter. The battle is now set to move from the high seas to the High Court as it is the subject of possession proceedings. he pasted notices on all the windows and warning that he is the owner and that trespassers face prosecution.