Delhi Gymkhana Club breached lease on 53 counts: Govt
The club has been under probe by the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) for around three years for alleged financial irregularities.Updated: May 16, 2020 08:08 IST
The Union housing and urban affairs ministry has found Delhi Gymkhana Club, which is embroiled in a contentious takeover bid by the Centre, in alleged breach of its original lease agreement on 53 counts, according to an affidavit filed in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
The club has been under probe by the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) for around three years for alleged financial irregularities. The corporate affairs ministry moved NCLT against the club last month over alleged nepotism, misuse of allocated land and issues related to memberships. NCLT heard the case through video-conferencing and adjourned the matter until Monday. Gymkhana officials said the government counsel has asked NCLT to appoint a government-chosen administrator for the club. “We are arguing the petition and giving it our best purely on the basis of the law,” said Delhi Gymkhana Club president Lt Gen (retd) D R Soni.
The MCA adds that the club was using members as auditors leading to a conflict of interest. In the May 12 affidavit, the ministry said it has found 52 “unauthorised constructions” . The affidavit cited “commercial misuse of installation of towers for Reliance and Vodafone” on the club premises. According to the affidavit, these are in “breach of the perpetual lease deed issued to the club in February 1928”.
In a letter dated May 11, the ministry has given the club till May 26 to respond to the violations, failing which “appropriate action will be taken in terms of provisions of the lease deed without any further notice”. HT has seen a copy of the affidavit, which also mentions the letter.
“We are in the process of replying to the urban affairs ministry as well,” said Soni. “Many of their observations have been rectified, while others are yet to be addressed because of the lockdown.” “This may not necessarily result in the revocation of the lease as the government can choose to levy a fine as it has earlier done in the case of the [Delhi] Golf Club,” a person familiar with the matter said.
According to a club official, the Gymkhana lawyers are making the case that the violations have taken place under different governing bodies. “The push is to ask what is the public interest in taking over a private club,” added this person who asked not to be named. “The issues are from 2014-18. Some corrective measures have been taken and others will continue to be taken.”