BELIEVE IT or not, the Lucknow airport will be up for ‘sale’!
District judge Shiv Saran Sharma passed an order on Wednesday to “attach and auction” the airport on October 30 for the airport administration’s failure to pay Rs. 77.30 lakh to a Varanasi based caterer despite court orders.
Court sources told HT that the executive director of Hotel Predeep, situated at Varanasi’s Jagatganj, had inked a pact with the Airport Authority of India, Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, at Safdarganj, New Delhi, and the airport director, Lucknow, on January 29, 1996 for providing catering services.
Thereafter, Hotel Pradeep started providing the service but the bill kept on getting bigger. When the arrears touched Rs 50 lakh, the hotel’s executive director moved the court against the airport authorities. The court, with the consent of the hotel management and the airport administration, appointed Justice (retd) Kaladhar Shahi as the arbitrator. He heard both sides. On January 7, 2006, he ordered the airport authority to pay Rs 75,30,216 (with interest) to the hotel management.
When the payment was not made, the hotel management filed a petition for execution of the arbitrator’s order. Now, the airport administration also filed a petition in the High Court. But, the High Court, on August 10, 2006, turned the plea down.
This matter was last heard in the court of Lucknow district judge Shiv Saran Sharma on September 25. When the airport authority still failed to make the payment, the court ordered that the amount be recovered after first attaching and then getting the airport auctioned. The order has caused a flutter in the Civil Aviation Ministry with senior officials busy tracking down the relevant records to avoid further embarrassment. The court has fixed November 4 for a report on attachment proceedings.