ITC examining options for Taj Mansingh auction

Delhi news

New Delhi's iconic Taj Mansingh hotel will go under the hammer, the Supreme Court ruled today, rejecting the Tata Group's plea to stall the auction.

Ending a year-long battle over the lease agreement of iconic Taj Mansingh, the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed civic agency New Delhi Municipal Council or NDMC to e-auction the five-star hotel.

The IHCL had told the apex court that it was "not clear" why NDMC wanted to auction the prime property which gave the "best revenue" to it. "Important decisions taken at today's NDMC meeting - open auction of Taj Mansingh, cancellation of Le Meridian Hotel licence", Chief Minister and NDMC council member Arvind Kejriwal had said.

The New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) had sought the court's permission to auction the hotel.

On November 21 previous year, the SC had restrained NDMC from going ahead with the auction process and also from initiating eviction proceedings against IHCL for vacating the property.

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In what is a poor consolation, the Bench allowed the group six months' time to vacate the premises in case they lose the e-auction.

Summary: The company had on November 8 approached the apex court against the high court order clearing the auction. However, NDMC and Indian Hotels fell out when NDMC revealed it wanted to hold an auction of the property to raise money.

When the bench had asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who was appearing for NDMC, whether the body agreed to reconsider the decision of going ahead with the auctioning process, he had replied, "No". It is not a matter of right. The Group's hotel division was given nine extensions after that.

The Tatas had been given a 33-year lease for the property in the prime location of the capital. The lease had ended in 2011 and the company was given nine temporary extensions since then on various grounds, with three of them granted previous year itself. Instead of renewing the lease, the civic body chose to opt for a public auction as it would maximise the annual licence fee.

IHCL had been seeking the first right to refusal, and had failed to secure the option in the High Court.

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