External affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday dismissed the controversy over his stay in a private resort in the Nilgiris, saying there was nothing illegal about it.
"There is nothing illegal in staying there. The Supreme Court has already stayed the Madras high court order of closing down the resort. I don't know what order the Supreme Court will pass but as long as it stays the high court order, the private resort is free to operate," he told PTI.
Khurshid also said, "There are some persons running a campaign to close down resorts in forest areas there. I have no problem with that.
"They had approached the high court, which gave an order supporting their contentions. After the high court order, the Supreme Court gave a stay. The Supreme Court order categorically says, no dispossession to take place, no demolition to take place," he said.
"The place is licenced. They pay their taxes. Right now this place is legal, legitimate and open. Once the Supreme Court decides it is wrong, then it is wrong. Till then I can't be dictated by some group or the other that I should not go here or go there," the minister contended.
The Madras high court had directed many of the resorts in the Bokkapuram forest area be closed as they were located in the elephant corridor, following which the electric fencing was removed from area, some months back. However, the owners have approached the Supreme Court, which had stayed the high court order.
However, some of the activists termed Khurshid's stay in the resort for the New Year's eve as "illegal", citing the high court order.