Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source Internet

5- star resort Wildflower hall possession taking matter hearing adjourned to 24Nov

Shimla, Nov 21

The matter of possession of the Oberoi group owned 5 -star luxury resort Hotel wildflower hall, has been now adjourned till 24 November. In the matter EIH Ltd and others versus State of H.P and others, Justice Satyen Vaidya, listed the case for  November 24 at 2 PM.

The counsel for the applicant East India Hotel Ltd. R.L. Sood, and Arjun Lal, Advocate, Rajaraman Shankar, President Corporate Affairs for E.I.H., remained present in person.

In the proceedings today, Advocate Prabhat Kumar appeared for the respondent side and assured the court that the reply in this matter will be filed during the course of the day. Also they submitted that Senior advocate Dhruv Mehta is to lead the case on behalf of the state of H.P, but was not available today due to his pre-occupation. ” At his request, list the matter on November 24, at 2P.M,” stated the court order.

Earlier on Saturday the court had ordered a stay on the possession taking proceedings by the State government. “In this view of the matter, further execution of order dated 17.11.2023 (Annexure A-2) shall remain stayed till further orders. It is clarified that the respondent State shall not interfere in the day to day management and possession of the hotel,” had stated the court order, while listing the matter on November 21.

Noteworthy that on Saturday the Himachal Pradesh Government, in the backdrop of winning a legal battle against the International Hospitality Oberoi Group, had initiated proceedings to take possession of the five-star property Wildflower Hall at Charabra, situated on the outskirts of this capital town.

According to information, HPTDC Director Mansi Sahay has been posted as the administrator of this property. On the day HPTDC and district administration teams rushed to Charabra with a heavy police force, however could not take possession of the property as the EIH limited were successful in seeking a stay from the HP High court, where after the proceedings have been halted.

Noteworthy that in August 2022, a division bench of the Himachal High Court upheld the government’s decision to take back this property from the Oberoi Group. 

The former residence of Lord Kitchener, the former Commander of the British Army, Wild Flower Hall is currently a 5-star resort that offers the ambiance of a grand stately home. In 1909, after Lord Kitchener returned to England, Wild Flower Hall was sold to Robert Hotz and his wife.

In 1925, after demolishing the old house, Hotz built a fine three-story hotel. After independence, the hotel was taken over by the Government of India and given to the Himachal Government to run an Agricultural University. Later, it was taken over by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) in 1973, which operated until 1993. It was due to an electrical short circuit that a fire reduced the wooden hotel to ashes on April 5, 1993.

H.P government stand in the matter

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Sukhu declared that Hotel Wildflower is the wealth of the state, and will not allow them to be looted. This legal battle has spanned 22 years, during which State presented the facts in court. Eventually, a favourable decision was reached, asserting the State’s rightful claim, he asserted

Highlighting an agreement between the government and the Oberoi Group, Himachal’s Industry Minister, Harsh Vardhan Chauhan, revealed, “For the past 25-30 years, the Himachal government did not receive revenue equity as agreed upon. This negligence resulted in a loss of crores for the government.” Chauhan disclosed that approximately Rs 120 crore was owed to Himachal by the Oberoi Group, but the payment was never made.



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