The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday set aside the Haryana government’s decision to allot 350 acres of land in Wazirabad, Gurgaon, to the country’s largest real estate developer DLF in 2010.
This the second blow to DLF in the past week. The Supreme Court had on August 27 directed the company to deposit Rs 630 crore in its registry within three months, rejecting its request to stay the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that had imposed the penalty over unfair trade practices.
A division bench of the high court, comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Amol Rattan Singh, directed the 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 a report by news agency PTI.
The decision came on a set of petitions filed by farmers challenging the acquisition and transfer of the land to DLF, citing that it was village common land, the farmer’s counsel said. The bench upheld the acquisition of the land by state-owned authorities but set aside the land transfer to DLF.
DLF, in August 2009, had bagged the 350-acre land for Rs 1,750 crore to develop a recreation and leisure project. The letter of acceptance was issued to DLF by the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure DevelopmentCorporation Ltd (HSIIDC) after the company emerged as the successful bidder. The court had in 2012 restrained DLF from carrying out any construction and from creating any third party rights.
When contacted, a DLF spokesperson said, “DLF won this land in an international competitive bid conducted twice by the government of Haryana in 2009-10. The copy of the order is still awaited but we wish to clarify that it will have no bearing on any of our completed or ongoing projects. This land was to be developed in the future. After reading the order and taking legal advice, we will take appropriate steps.”
However, some brokers said DLF had already launched a project on the same parcel of land and even made many bookings. It is one of the premium projects of the company around the Golf Course Road. DLF had emerged as the sole bidder for the 350-acre project after the bids of other parties — Unitech and a Malaysia-based consortium comprising Country Heights, Country Club of South Africa and Rajarhat IT Park — could not qualify on technical grounds.
The only qualified bidder, DLF, had quoted its bid at Rs 12,000 per sq mt against the reserve price of Rs 11,978 per sq mt for the project.