The New Delhi Municipal Council on Thursday decided to seek the opinion of the Solicitor General of India on the future of the Taj Mansingh hotel whose 33-year-old lease ran out in 2011.
The Council will soon seek the Solicitor Generals opinion on the issue through the MHA and the UD ministry, spokesperson for the NDMC A K Mishra said.
The decision was taken after the Home Ministry sent a letter to the civic body,asking it to conduct an open auction and not give the Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) the first right of refusal,as had been decided earlier by the NDMC.
In the letter addressed to the NDMC chairperson,A K Das,under secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs,wrote,It is observed that the proposal to allow IHCL to have the first right of refusal in public auction has not been provided for in the lease deed. Provision of the first right of refusal will result in lower bid in public auction. Therefore,the Ministry of Home Affairs is of the considered opinion that the first right of refusal should not be allowed to IHCL in the proposed auction and fresh lease should be granted by open public auction.
The letter stated that the opinion had the approval of the Home Secretary.
But NDMC member Karan Singh Tanwar said there was no reason to seek an opinion since the Additional Solicitor General,the MHA and the UD Ministry had already given their opinion. This is an attempt to delay the process, he said.
The future of the five-star hotel in the NDMC area has been under a cloud ever since the lease ran out in 2011.