The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday set aside Haryana government's decision of transferring around 350 acres acquired land in Wazirabad village of Gurgaon to private realty giant Delhi Land and Finance (DLF) in 2010. DLF had planned to come up with a recreation and leisure project comprising commercial, residential and sports facilities at te site.
However, upholding the state government's land acquisition as such, the division bench headed by justice Surya Kant directed it to carry out fresh bidding process inviting international bids. The court also made it clear that DLF could also participate in the bidding process that would be finalised with new terms and conditions by an independent consultant to be appointed within a month. The consultant would submit its report within two months and the fresh bidding process would be completed in six months.
Though the court pronounced its judgment on Wednesday, the detailed judgment is yet to be released. The HC had in November 2012 restrained DLF from carrying out any construction activity and also from creating any third party rights on the land.
The judgment has come on a bunch of petitions filed by Wazirabad villagers who had challenged the government's decision of acquiring forest land measuring around 278 acres in 2003 for "public purpose" and later in 2010 handing it over to DLF for construction and sale of Golf Villas which was a "private purpose". Also, around 76 acres earlier acquired for the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) were also transferred to DLF for the project.
The petitioners had sought quashing of the acquisition notification of August 2003 for a total of around 278 acres, which were purchased from the villagers for Rs. 55.66 crore but handed over to DLF in 2009 for Rs. 1,703 crore along with the other piece of already-acquired land. The petitioners had alleged that the DLF in collusion with the authorities of the state had adopted an alternate method to get the land of the gram panchayat for the project.
The land had goen to DLF after the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), relaxing various terms and conditions of the project to make it viable, had invited bids for a second time. DLF had quoted Rs. 12,000 per square metre as against the reserve price of Rs. 11,978. Two bidders disqualified were Unitech and a Malaysian consortium, Country Heights Holdings Berhad and Rajarhat IT Park Ltd. These two bidders were disqualified in August 2009 on technical grounds.
Reacting to the judgment, DLF issued a statement: "DLF won this land in an international competitive bid conducted twice by the government of Haryana in 2009-10. As a copy of the order is awaited, 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."
The location and plan
The site is located on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road and is surrounded by defence radar station and DLF Golf and Country Club. It is in close vicinity of Sectors 42, 53 and 54 of Gurgaon. The project was to have an 18-hole golf course as per professional standards; residential facilities including villas; commercial facilities including hotels, motels and service apartments; sports complex, convention centre, food court, banking facilities, and clubhouses.
Around 278 acres acquired in 2003 for "public purpose", later handed over to DLF for project that was "private purpose". Plus, 76 acres earlier acquired for HUDA transferred to DLF. Under acquisition notification of August 2003, the 278 acres were bought from villagers for `55.66 crore, given to DLF six years later for `1,703 crore. Villagers had alleged DLF in collusion with authorities adopted this alternate method to get land of gram panchayat.