DLF land allotment transparent, claims Haryana govt

A day after Punjab and Haryana High Court cancelled 350 acres of land allotted to realty giant DLF in Gurgaon for a recreational project, Haryana government on Thursday claimed the process followed in the project was "transparent".

Chandigarh: A day after Punjab and Haryana High Court cancelled 350 acres of land allotted to realty giant DLF in Gurgaon for a recreational project, Haryana government on Thursday claimed the process followed in the project was "transparent".

In a guarded reaction, Haryana Secretary Industries Y S Malik told reporters, "Whatever process was followed (in Gurgaon project) that was transparent as per our understanding. Where we committed mistake, we will come to know after reading the order."

Asked about next line of action, he said they will decide after studying the order in detail.

"...As far as yesterday's High Court order is concerned, we will see where we committed mistake or where not...It will be known only after going through the court's judgment," Malik said.

"They (High Court) must have observed our mistake. First, we should know what our mistake is, then we will decide about our next course of action," the official, who was flanked by Principal Secretary to CM, K K Khandelwal, Additional Chief Secretary S S Dhillon and another principal Secretary T C Gupta, said.

Punjab and Haryana High court had yesterday set aside Haryana government's decision to allot 350 acres of land at Wazirabad in Gurgaon to real estate developer DLF for setting up a recreational project.

A division bench of the court, comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Amol Rattan Singh, directed Haryana government to conduct an auction of the land in question by inviting international bids within a month.

However, DLF would be able to participate in the auction process.

According to the petitioners' counsel, the bench upheld the acquisition of the land by state-owned authorities but set aside the land transfer to DLF.

Talking about the project, Malik said the panchayat land of Wazirabad village measuring 278 acres was notified for acquisition for the state public purpose of Development of Recreational/Leisure project and other public utilities on August 8, 2003.

The 76 acres of land of HUDA was also made part of this project in July 2003, he said. IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited was engaged as consultants in 2008 for assessment of land cost, preparations of all documents for handholding the HSIIDC for auction, he said.

The project includes residential area of 38.47 acres, commercial 19.24 acres, sports complex & related infra 20 acres and golf course and open greens of about 272 acres of land, he informed.

The reserve price was fixed at Rs 1,700 crore (Rs 11,978 per square meter).

During the first international competitive bidding process for this project, only one bid of DLF Limited was received in April 2009 with certain suggestions and conditions to make project viable, said a fact sheet prepared by Haryana government.

Finding merit in the suggestions of sole bidder, the project parameters were reexamined and major changes included government to obtain statutory clearance in respect of project land, permitting 20 per cent of FAR in respect of area under golf course for residential purposes, said the fact sheet regarding land sale to DLF.

However, the suggestion for reviewing and reducing the reserve price in the face of economic meltdown was not accepted, it said.

Then again bids were invited in 2009 whereby two additional bids from a consortium led by Country Heights Holdings, Berhad (Malaysia) and a consortium led by Unitech Ltd were received for this project.

The technical bids opening committee found that these two bidders failed to meet the prescribed technical criterion, more specifically the net worth criterion. And the only valid bid (of DLF), being higher than the reserve price was accepted, it said.

The letter conveying Acceptance of the bid was issued to the successful bidder (DLF) on August 20, 2009. The regular Letter of Allotment was issued in favour of DLF Ltd on February 9, 2010.

DLF has so far paid an amount of Rs 779.76 crore towards the principal amount, said Malik.  

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