The New Delhi Municipal Council on Thursday approved the auction of the Taj Mahal Hotel on Mansingh Road and cancelled Le Meridien Hotel’s licence over uncleared dues of Rs 523 crore, PTI reported. Despite the Union Home Ministry, which oversees the council, approving the auction in 2015, a legal battle in the Supreme Court had delayed the process.
The owners of the two hotels have been embroiled in cases with the authority for several months. On Twitter, Chief Minister and NDMC council member Arvind Kejriwal said, “Important decisions taken at today’s NDMC meeting – open auction of Taj Mansingh, cancellation of Le Meridian Hotel licence.” The civic body had selected SBI Cap as its transaction adviser.
“The council decided that the license of the [Le Meridian] hotel be terminated due to non-payment of license fee worth Rs 523 crore and the Delhi High Court will be apprised accordingly, keeping in view the gross abuse of the process of law by the hotel,” an NDMC official told PTI.
“We have not received any official communication yet. The case is sub judice,” a Le Meridian spokesperson told the news agency. “All hotel operations continue uninterrupted.” The Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company Ltd spokesperson also refused to comment on the same grounds.
The civic body has denied the Tatas the right to first refusal, disallowing the conglomerate’s participation in the process. During the meeting, the council agreed on an e-auction, PTI reported.
Indian Hotels had entered into an agreement with the NDMC to construct the five-star Taj Mahal Hotel in December 1976. The original agreement expired in 2011, but the Tata group subsidiary continued running the hotel on extensions. The company had told the court that the deal was later modified into a joint venture, but the court had rejected the claim.