A court in California in the United States on Thursday ordered Indian-American businessman Vinod Khosla to reopen public access to a beach that he had closed off for private use, The Guardian reported. The appeals court ruled that the billionaire and venture capitalist must unlock the gates to the Martins beach in northern California following a lawsuit by the not-for-profit organisation Surfrider Foundation.

“Vinod Khosla, with his billions of dollars, bought this piece of property and said, ‘No, no, the public isn’t going to use this anymore, end of story’,” Surfrider attorney Joe Cotchett said on Thursday. “He got away with it for many years. This is probably one of the most important public right-of-access cases in the country.”

Khosla had faced multiple lawsuits to force him to open the gates to the Martins beach, which is located near Half Moon Bay, about 50 kilometres south of San Francisco. According to the law in California, all beaches in the state should be open to the public up to the “mean high tide line”.

Khosla’s lawyers had demanded $30 million (Rs 192.5 crore) in February 2016 from the government to open the beach to the public. In October, Khosla had sued two California state agencies, accusing them of using coercion and harassment to infringe on his “right to private property”.