The building, constructed in 1880 near Central Telegraph office in the heart of the town, housed the office of the Director General of Police till 2010, when it was vacated by the erstwhile BJP government and restored it to its owners. (Agencies)
The building was in the thick of controversy during the BJP rule and rumours were afloat that it was being sold.
The building now would be handed over to the Department of Language, Art and Culture and a state museum would be set up at the commanding site, a spokesman said.
The state cabinet on July 5 had decided to acquire the castle, which was once the summer palace of the Maharaja of Sirmaur, an erstwhile princely state of southern Himachal.
The coat-of-arms of the maharaja can still be seen in the cast-iron railing in front of the house.
During the tenure of the previous BJP government, a London-based Indian businessman had tried to purchase the property for an ultra-luxurious spa, but being heritage property, alterations in facade was not permissible.
Vishwanath Sood (72), one of the owners of the building, claimed that the property was worth crores of rupees and 90 percent area of the estate was dense forest.
"If the government is keen on acquiring it, it should pay us the prevalent market rate. If it goes ahead with the acquisition as per law, I have no problem. Otherwise, I have the right to challenge it," he said.
Like many buildings in Shimla, Bantony's architectural style is somewhat eclectic - part mock-Tudor, part chalet and crowned with sloping roofs with mini-towers. Architect TEG Cooper is said to have designed it. Before its construction in 1880, the place had a rickety cottage belonging to Captain A Gordon, which housed army officers.
The exotic cast-iron railing with coat-of-arms of Sirmaur state at every span of six feet - mostly vandalized - and the original gate outside the building, which were cast in the Nahan Foundry, were erected in 1902-03.
According to the Shimla Municipal Corporation, the building is in a dilapidated condition as necessary repair was not carried out by the owners.
The building, constructed in 1880 near Central Telegraph office in the heart of the town, housed the office of the Director General of Police till 2010, when it was vacated by the erstwhile BJP government and restored it to its owners.