LIT exploring alternative project at city centre site
After the district and sessions court accepted the closure report of the vigilance bureau in the Ludhiana city centre scam case,involving Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh as one of the accused, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) is now exploring options for an alternative project at the site at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. The land, measuring 26 acres, has been lying abandoned since December 2007 after the scam surfaced.
LIT chairman Raman Balasubramaniam met local bodies minister Brahm Mohindra on Wednesday on the issue. Cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, representing Ludhiana west constituency in the state assembly, where the site is situated, has also written a letter to Mohindra to use the site for another project.
LIT officials said the appointment of the interim resolution professional (IRP) by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in November last year had provided a ray of hope. The NCLT has initiated a corporate insolvency resolution process against Today Homes and the IRP would be joining the proceedings in the Delhi high court. The IRP has taken over the assets and liabilities of the firm.
Today Homes is demanding compensation from the LIT while the latter is fighting against it in the court. In 2017, the sole arbitrator justice RC Lahoti ruled in favour of the company and ordered the LIT to compensate them. It was challenged by LIT in the court.
Later, the company also moved the court against the LIT. Both petitions were clubbed and transferred to Delhi high court in February 2019 on the orders of the Supreme Court. The next hearing of the case is scheduled on February 13 and 14.
According to LIT officials, the company is demanding a compensation of around Rs 1,400 crore (including interest). The principal amount was Rs 252 crore.
Earlier, in the last week of November, the district and sessions court had acquitted the chief minister and others in the case.
A LIT official said the incomplete project was a blot on the face of the Congress and residents of nearby areas have also been facing problems as the boundary wall of the site caves in almost every year during monsoon. Further, the site has also been turned into a garbage dump and has become a safe haven for drug addicts and anti-social elements.
Balasubramaniam said the appointment of interim resolution professional (IRP) for Today Homes and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd by the tribunal is an opportunity to resolve the case. The LIT cannot revive the project, but it can bring an alternative project at the site. It could be developed as a commercial hub, but the decision would be taken at the state level, he added.