After many duels between the Tata Group and civic authorities, in court and outside, the stage seems to be set for the auction of Delhi’s most iconic five-star property, the Taj Mahal Hotel. Recently, the Delhi High Court dismissed a plea by the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), the Tata Group company that runs the hotel, which challenged the revised tender of the auction. IHCL had approached the Delhi High Court, challenging the revised tender by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on the grounds that it failed to take into account IHCL’s “blemish free” record in running of the hotel as observed by the Supreme Court earlier. Incidentally, the Supreme Court has now refused to interfere in the process laid out by NDMC for the hotel’s auction.
The high court’s current decision has paved the way for auction of the property on June 19, when e-auctions for a new licence for the property will be held. The last date for submission of technical bids is June 7. The Taj Mahal Hotel, more popularly known as Taj Man Singh as it is located on Man Singh Road in the heart of the city, has been a favourite meeting place for industrialists, politicians, journalists and, of course, the ubiquitous fixers of Delhi. For the past seven years, however, the future of this hotel has been uncertain and caught between intense political play and litigation.