In an interim order passed last week, the Allahabad high court directed the Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad to deposit ₹5 crore with the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) for failing to pay for land allotted to it in 1978.The court gave the institute and its promoter, Lajpatrai Educational Society, time till July 15 to make the payment and restrained the GDA from taking any coercive action in the matter till then. It also directed IMT to apply for regularisation of land with the UP government.The president of the governing council of the institute is Bakul Nath, son of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, whose family owns the Lajpatrai Educational Society. Speaking to news agency IANS last month, Kamal Nath had dubbed the issue as “politically motivated”.The issue was first highlighted by municipal councillor Rajendra Tyagi in March this year. He had also complained about it to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.In May, the GDA had cancelled the allotment of around 11,503 square yards of campus land after the non-payment issue came to light.The land was allotted on April 20, 1978 and the GDA claims it had demanded around ₹2 lakh for it in 1981 and again in 1994.After Tyagi raised the issue and IMT failed to produce any documents proving payment, the GDA moved to cancel the allotment. The society running the institute then approached the high court contesting the cost imposed on it claiming it to be arbitrary.In court, IMT contended that the GDA is the custodian of all records and responsible for sanctioning building plans that came up on the plot.“It has been submitted by him (the lawyer for the petitioner) that the action of the respondent has been arbitrary and they should have given reasonable opportunity to the petitioner to make deposit of the allotment amount with such penal interest as may be reasonable so that the irregularity which had been there, could be regularised,” the court said in its order.The GDA submitted that the it cannot be said that the institute was not aware of the defect in its title. It submitted that a 1999 government order enabled restoration of cancelled allotment, subject to deposit of a certain amount, which is generally at market rate. The lawyer pegged this figure to be around ₹75 crore.The high court then ordered IMT to deposit ₹5 crore with GDA.“We have contended that the amount be paid at the original rate on which allotment was made along with any late payment charges etc. We will now submit ₹5 crore to GDA and also submit our application to the UP government,” said Prof Asish K Bhattacharyya, director, IMT.