Even as the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) that runs the Mahalaxmi racecourse and the BJR group that runs the Gallops restaurant on the racecourse are locked in a tussle, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided this is its chance to crack the whip on the turf club.
The RWITC terminated its contract with BJR last week citing payment defaults and the latter’s failure to rectify illegalities identified by the BMC. The BMC has taken this as proof of the club having created third party rights on the property.
“Terminating of the contract proves that the turf club has breached the lease agreement with the BMC,” said an official from the BMC’s estates department.
“We are likely to issue the eviction notice to the club on Friday,” said the civic law committee Chairman Ramakant Rahate.
The BMC and RWITC have been at loggerheads for a year over the breach of the lease agreement. The BMC had asked the RWITC to cancel its sub-lease and remove illegal constructions. The racecourse is on a 211-acre plot owned by the BMC and leased to the RWITC.
Estate department officials said the BMC found that RWITC had sub-leased a portion of the racecourse—the Gallops restaurant—to a third party [BJR] without the BMC’s consent for 10 years.
Mohanbir Singh, BJR’s lawyer, said, “RWITC has addressed a letter to BJR claiming to terminate the contract but BJR doesn’t accept the unilateral termination.”
The BMC argued that when RWITC’s lease expires in 2013 it should not have signed a contract with Gallops. The club’s contract with the restaurant ends in 2018.
Vivek Jain, chairman, media and marketing, RWITC, was unavailable for comment despite several attempts.
The notice may be delayed if newly appointed municipal commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya seeks time to study the matter.