Hospitality

Delhi HC tells Le Meridien to pay Rs 500 crore

DELHI: In the ongoing dispute between New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and CJ International Hotels, operator of the Le Meridien Hotel, the Delhi High Court on Friday orally observed that Le Meridien should pay the arrears as per the high court’s May 2001 order or vacate the premises on which it operates the hotel located on Windsor Place, Janpath, reports The Economic Times.

NDMC and Le Meridien are engaged in a bitter legal dispute over non-payment of dues and arrears by the hotel that the civic body has pegged at more than Rs 500 crore. The next date of hearing has been fixed for July 28.

NDMC’s counsel additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain told the court that it cannot allow the amendment petition of CJ International as its plea is based on a fraudulent argument. Le Meridien’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

NDMC had cancelled the licence of the hotel on March 2 and has filed a fresh petition under provisions of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act 1971 in the estate officer’s court to evict Le Meridien.

In its petition, NDMC has said that as per the licence deed signed between two parties, CJ International was to pay Rs 2.68 crore a year as the minimum guaranteed amount, or 21% of the gross turnover from the hotel, whichever was higher, from the date of handing over of the plot.

The company started violating the licence fee terms immediately after taking possession of the land, it has alleged. NDMC maintains that in order to avoid payment of arrears, which totalled Rs 523 crore as on March 31, 2014, CJ International, in connivance with certain NDMC officials, worked out the calculation in such a way that it suited the company against the interests of NDMC.

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