In the wake of CBI action in the sale of Udaipur’s Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel, Congress has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the probe agency to reinvestigate the sale of two Centaur Hotels in Mumbai some 14 years ago.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, AICC Secretary Sanjay Nirupam said that CBI should file an FIR in the matter so that the perpetrators including government officials and the ministers concerned are brought to book.
Making a strong plea for a reinvestigation, he said this was needed as the probe into the sale of two Centaur Hotels at Airport and at Juhu in Mumbai belonging to the Hotel Corporation of India during the BJP-led NDA government in 2001-2002 has not seen the light of the day.
He said that the Airport Centaur Hotel was first sold to Batra Hospitality Pvt Ltd for Rs. 83 crore.
“However within four months of the disinvestment, Batra Hospitality Pvt Ltd resold the property to Sahara Hospitality Pvt Ltd for a profit of Rs. 32 crore despite a specific clause in the agreement that it was non-assignable for two years,” Nirupam claimed.
Thus the sale agreement signed between private entity Batra Hospitality Pvt Ltd and the Govt of India was “clearly breached”, he wrote.
Similarly the 317-room Juhu Centaur Hotel, a prime property on Juhu Beach, was sold to Tulip Hospitality Service Pvt Ltd for Rs. 153 crore.
“The fact that Centaur Hotel, Juhu is now up for resale with a base price of Rs. 1300 crore in the tender issued proves beyond doubt that they were grossly unvalued in the previous
sale,” Nirupam wrote.
He said he wrote the letter in view of the fact that the CBI has booked the then Disinvestment Secretary in connection with the sale of the Udaipur hotel.