HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Why no penalty on RVL, HC questions Haryana

Sanjeev Verma, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 06, 2014
First Published: 10:08 IST(6/5/2014) | Last Updated: 10:10 IST(6/5/2014)

Haryana government’s decision of not imposing any penalty on Reliance Ventures Ltd (RVL) while taking back possession of 1,383 acre government land in Gurgaon allotted to RVL in 2007 for developing special economic zone (SEZ) on it has been questioned by the Punjab and Haryana high court.

The division bench comprising justices Surya Kant and Lisa Gill on Monday summoned the record of the ter ms and conditions agreed between Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) and RVL on the project to be developed under the publicprivate partnership.

The government also has to explain about the rationale behind its decision of making a payment of 343.51 cr against 1,172 crore demanded by the RVL to return the land.

The court was surprised to know that the state had taken a decision not to impose any penalty on the company even though the company had failed to come up with the project after seven years of handing over possession of the land.

It was on the advise of the Haryana AG in June 2013 that the HSIIDC, a joint venture partner of Reliance in the abortive SEZ project, had based its decision of not invoking the penal clause.

For taking back the government land, the HSIIDC, on the basis of AG’s opinion, had decided to pay back to Reliance 343.51 crore.

This includes 299 crore as acquisition cost of 1,383 acre, 14 crore annuity paid to farmers among others. Reliance had sought a reimbursement of 1,172 crore from the state government.

It was in 2005 that the villagers whose land was acquired by the state government for “public purpose” started approaching the high court questioning government’s decision. Thereafter till date, over 50 petitions have been filed in the high court.

It was in January 2003 and January 2004 that notifications under sections 4 and 6 of the land acquisition act was done by the government to acquire land in various villages including Garhi and Harsaroo.

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