Telangana AAG assures HC no action on land reserved for IKEA until further notice

Telangana AAG assures HC no action on land reserved for IKEA until further notice

Varun Chirumamilla

Telangana Additional Advocate General J Ramachandra Rao gave a verbal undertaking to the High Court on Tuesday, that 3.17 acres of land reserved for the Swedish multinational corporation IKEA, would not be handed over until further orders.

Rao made the undertaking to a bench of Acting Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishan and Justice V Ramasubramaniam. The Court was hearing a petition filed by Congress legislator A Revanth Reddy, challenging the procedure by which 13.1 acres of prime land was allotted to IKEA, and a further 3.17 acres was kept in reserve for them by the government.

IKEA which is a global powerhouse in the home furnishings space, launched their first retail store in India, in the city of Hyderabad today.

Senior Advocate CV Mohan Reddy who appeared for the petitioner argued that the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC), had flouted the norms stipulated under the state’s Information Technology, Electronics and Communication policy, which had been laid out by Government Order (G.O.Ms) 161 of 2006.

He added that not only had the land been allotted on a nomination basis, without any notification or calls for an auction, it had been allotted in an area meant to be part of an Information and Technology Corridor.

It was also argued that the policy clearly stipulated that – should land be allotted without an auction being conducted, the state would be entitled to one and a half times the market value of the land.

It is the petitioner’s contention that the sale of 13.1 acres of land to IKEA for a consideration of 19.21 crores per acre was well below the market value, and to reserve 3.1 acres against a deposit of five percent of the total (already deflated) value was illegal.

It was argued that giving IKEA the option to pay the same 19.21 crores per acre at any time they had a requirement for additional land, would add to an already considerable hit that the exchequer had taken.

The petition relied on two sales made before and after the sale to IKEA, in the same zone, to two other corporations to prove that the state had sustained a loss.

The first sale referred to in the petition relates to the sale of land to ITC Ltd. in the year 2011, where a consideration in excess of Rs 25 crore per acre was paid. The second was a sale to M/s Gowra Ventures Pvt. Ltd. in 2017, by way of an open auction, which realized, more than Rs 42 crores per acre.

The court has given the respondents two weeks within which to file their replies. Mohan Reddy was assisted by T Rajnikanth Reddy.

Read the petition

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