NDMC official fired in Le Méridien fee case
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) dismissed an official from service after his involvement was confirmed in the “fraudulent settlement” of dues in the Le Méridien licence fee matter. This is the first action against an official in the case.
An NDMC inquiry committee found Kishore Prasad, a senior assistant estate officer, was part of the team that had changed the formula for calculation of license fee for the hotel. “The Delhi High Court (HC) had allowed five deductions while calculating the licence fee. But the officials, including Kishore, allowed 21 deductions to extend benefit to the hotel,” said a NDMC official.
The case dates to 2015, when M/s CJ International Hotels Ltd (Le Méridien) paid ₹150 crore to the NDMC in dues.
According to NDMC officials, the hotel owed close to ₹618 crore in licence fee; the matter was “fraudulently” settled without the approval of the council.
The Centre had asked CBI to investigate the case and in the same year, directed NDMC to initiate departmental inquiry.
In the dismissal order, NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar wrote, “The fraudulent settlement was facilitated by Sh Kishore Prasad... on the basis of fraudulent settlement specially vide his noting (in the files)....”
Prasad denied the charges. “This is nothing but harassment and an attempt to humiliate me. The decision in the matter was taken by my senior and not me. Moreover, when CBI inquiry is going on, then why has NDMC concluded its inquiry despite CBI’s direction that it can’t do so. I’ll file an appeal,” said Kishore.
According to Le Meridien hotel, the matter regarding the payment of dues is “sub-judice”. A statement issued by the hotel said, “We agree to pay the ₹150 crore to NDMC to clear our dues till March 31, 2014. The decision to pay ₹150 crore was taken at a high level and the hotel is unaware of Kishore Prasad…NDMC, despite having received the monies took a U-turn and filed an application seeking setting aside of the decree dated 21.04.2015. Although the decree was recalled, the hotel was granted liberty to plead in addition to its claims the factum of the March 2015 arrangement… An appeal against this order has been filed by the Hotel, and also by NDMC, which is pending adjudication before the Hon’ble Division Bench of the Delhi HC.”
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