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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Recovery of lease rent: DC orders freeze on golf club bank accounts

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 26, 2014
First Published: 12:03 IST(26/8/2014) | Last Updated: 12:09 IST(26/8/2014)

In a significant development, the UT deputy commissioner has ordered attaching of five bank accounts of Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) for recovery of the outstanding lease rent.

The action against the club has been taken after it failed to comply with the notice issued by deputy commissioner on August 11 to Chandigarh Golf Club president, asking him to deposit 50% of total outstanding lease rent of Rs. 8.59 crore within 15 days.

Confirming the development, DC Mohammed Shayin said that the order for sealing of the accounts have been issued and the process would be completed on Tuesday. The club management will not be able to operate these accounts, he said.

“We have no information about the orders of sealing of the bank accounts,” said Chandigarh Golf Club president Birinder Singh Gil (Gilly).

Meanwhile, the petition filed by CGC challenging deputy commissioner’s July 19 order directing CGC to deposit Rs. 8.59 crore as its lease rent for the last six years came up for hearing on Monday before the division bench headed by justice Hemant Gupta. However, the division bench recused itself from hearing the case and the case would now come up for hearing on September 15 before some other division bench.

Earlier, deputy commissioner had on July 19 directed the CGC to deposit Rs. 8.59 crore within 15 days as lease rent from March 16, 2008, to March 15, 2014 that was calculated at 7% increase per year. The order had made it clear that if the CGC failed to deposit the amount, it would be sealed. The club management moved Punjab and Haryana high court challenging the order, following which the division bench comprising justices SK Mittal and Mahavir Singh Chauhan, on July 24, put a stay on the orders and asked the club to deposit 50% of the lease rent money.

Unhappy with the decision, the club management moved the Supreme Court challenging the order of the high court.

The community centre building in sector 6 comprising land measuring 132-acre and a swimming pool, including its extension, was leased out to CGC on August 3, 1971.

The lease period was extended from time to time and the last extension was granted for 20 years from March 16, 1988, to March 15, 2008.

After expiry of the lease period, a tussle started between CGC and administration over lease rent. It was on November 16, 2012, that the DC directed the club to pay a total of Rs. 9.27 crore as lease rent.

The DC had finalised per month rent as Rs. 13.44 lakh for 2008-09, Rs. 14.38 lakh (2009-10), Rs. 15.39 lakh (2010-11), Rs. 16.46 lakh (2011-12), and Rs. 17.62 lakh (2012-13).The club was asked to pay the rent in 2 months. As CGC was not ready to pay the lease rent amount calculated by the administration, it approached the high court in January 2013 where the court appointed justice Kuldeep Singh (retd) as mediator to reconcile the issue. UT administration had opposed his suggestion for Rs. 36 lakh per year lease amount to be paid by the CGC. On May 19, CGC withdrew its petition after the UT administration informed the court that it had revised the lease rent at `10.02 lakh per month from financial year 2008-09 with prospective yearly increase.

Since the court had earlier granted CGC liberty to challenge UT administration’s decision in case it was not satisfied with the new scheme, CGC has again approached the court.  

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