Sanjay Dutt, who joined property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle India (JLL) as Business-CEO in 2008 has quit the firm and is now partnering with Nipun Sahni, former real estate PE head for Merrill Lynch India, to launch a development based fund. The duo are looking to raise a Rs 300-500 crore development fund, say sourcesclose to development.

According to sources privy to the development, Dutt is serving his notice period and will move on by next week. He had quit another property consultancy Cushman and Wakefield to join JLL at the end of 2008 and has been instrumental in sewing few big ticket land transactions. Dutt was the joint managing director at Cushman and Wakefield where he served for over seven years before joining JLL. One of his recent transactions include selling an industrial land to Mumbai-based realtor Sunteck Realty.

Sahni quit MerrillLynch after four year in December 2010 to float his own real estate advisory firm RE.Zone Investment Advisors. He is based out of Gurgaon. Dutt will continue tostay in Mumbai and overlook the operations of the proposed venture.

The source quoted above said it is premature to say by when will they start their fund raising campaign but the duo wants to keep a low profile and talk about detailed plans only when they have some money to deploy in projects.

Senior officials at JLL indicate that Dutt’s postition at the consultancy was created only when he had joined and it will remain vacant.

Repeated attempts tocontact Anuj Puri, head of JLL India, for a comment did not elicit any response. Sanjay Dutt too declined to comment on the story.

His move comes even as JLL itself is charting course for its maiden realty fund. It plansto raise close to Rs 300-400 crore real estate fund in partnership with a financial institution. Mridul Upreti, CEO-segregated fundsbusiness of JLL India is overlooking this fund raising program.

He was inducted as the CEO for funds services in January this year after almost 11 years in real estate capital markets team at JLL.

A source added, “Theyhave not yet tied up with a financial institution and they are still in talks with some of them to form a joint venture and then raise the fund.”

Sources say, JLL has been looking to raise the realty fund since 2008, but due to unfavourable market conditions it had earlier shelved the plans.

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