Though the battle for Taj New Delhi (Mansingh), one of the crown jewels of Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) may have got longer – with the NDMC shifting dates to complete the auction – the Tata company is firmly ahead in the race. In fact, some of the prospective bidders, including The Leela Group, have already opted out of the auction.
The landmark hotel in Delhi’s tony Lutyen’s neighbourhood had been put on sale after the Supreme Court last year gave the go-ahead to NDMC to conduct auction. Till then the Municipal Corporation had been contending IHCL’s claim to first right of refusal to match the highest bid at the auction. The hotel’s lease had expired in October 2011.
While the auction was expected to get over by January 30, the NDMC in a notice on the third of this month put out a notice saying: “Prospective Bidders are hereby notified that the publication of responses to queries which was scheduled for Wednesday, January 03, 2018 has now been postponed. The responses to queries will now be published at a later date and all other dates will be notified accordingly.” The queries were submitted by December 28, and the Corporation was expected to get back to the bidders by the first week of January.
According to industry sources, the race – whenever it commences – could be a face-off between Indian Hotels and ITC, which owns the ITC Maurya, located less than 7km away from Taj Mansingh. “This is a prestigious property,” a source close to ITC told Moneycontrol. “We are surely evaluating the project,” the executive added.
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