AT A time when the Ambani brothers are locked in battle to acquire the deed of a plot to construct a hangar at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the GVK-led consortium modernising the airport has said to the Bombay High Court it needs the land in question for a runway.
The Anil Ambani group company Reliance Transport and Travels Private Limited had approached the high court in January, claiming rights to the title of the property at the airport.
It had sought that the Airports Authority of India be restrained from entering into a lease agreement with Reliance Industries of the Mukesh Ambani group to construct the hangar.
On Wednesday counsel for the Mumbai International Airport Limited, the GVK-led consortium that has given the airport a new look, told the court it planned to construct a new runway and was itself in need of the entire plot the Ambanis were fighting over.
In January the high court had granted interim relief to Reliance Transport and Travels, but Justice A.P. Deshpande now did not extend the relief restraining Airports Authority of India from entering into a deed.
The counsels for Reliance Transport and Travels and Reliance Industries made statements in court that neither of them would enter into any lease deed with the Airports Authority of India for a week.
Reliance Transport and Travels will now appeal against not being granted relief.
“In 2000 the Airport Authority of India had allotted a over 2,701 sq m plot to Reliance Transport and Travels Private Limited, then under the flagship Reliance Industries Limited, to construct a hanger on build-operate-transfer basis,” said Srihari Aney, counsel for the Anil Ambani group company.
According to Reliance Transport and Travels, which operates non-scheduled air transport passenger services, Reliance Industries, being the flagship company of the erstwhile unified Reliance Group, had assisted and acted on its behalf in pursuing the application for allotment of land.
After the demerger in 2005, Reliance Transport and Travels told the Airports Authority of India that the lease deed should be executed with it. The decision of the Airports Authority of India to recognise Reliance Industries as the allottee was termed wrong and arbitrary.
Reliance, on its part, claimed the contract was never entered into between Airports Authority of India and Reliance Transport and Travels and the latter had never made any claim until February 2006.