Visakhapatnam: A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Nainala Jayasurya on Friday upheld the order of a single bench headed by judge D.V.V.S. Somayajulu and ordered the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (VMRDA) to return the premises of Fusion Foods to T. Harshavardhan Prasad. The bench also asked VMRDA to hand over the premises within a week’s time.
Somayajulu, in his order on March 31 this year, also imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 25,000 for evicting the ‘license holder’ without following the due procedure. “I am happy with the judgment delivered by the division bench of AP High Court today. I hope there will be no future issues since I am only a businessman,” Harshvardhan told this correspondent.
The VMRDA’s takeover of Fusion Foods on November 15 drew attention of all ever since one of his employees, J. Srinivas, attacked Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy at the cafeteria at Visakhapatnam International Airport. Srinivas allegedly attacked Jagan Mohan Reddy on October 25, 2018, and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) questioned Harshavardhan about Srinivas several times.
The estate wing of the VMRDA seized the Fusion Foods premises situated at the prime locality of Siripuram in Visakhapatnam on November 15 last year.
Harshavardhan obtained a lease of the premises owned by VMRDA (then VUDA) for 10 years in 2004. After expiry of the lease in 2014, he applied for extension of lease for another 10 years. The VUDA refused to extend the lease and Harshavardhan went to High Court and got directions to the state government. The VUDA issued extension orders valid from 2015 to 2024.
But the VMRDA, in its notice dated November 14, 2020, stated that Harshavardhan violated the rules of lease. The VUDA rules mentioned then that lease period could be given for only three years and not beyond that unless the state government permitted the prolonged period. The notice cited that there was no government permission for a nine-year lease and rent was far below the specified norms. Citing these reasons, the commissioner of VMRDA asked the estate officer to take over the premises.
“I took an open land for lease and spent over Rs 5 crore for construction of the premises. Without giving any notice and time, they descended in the early hours and removed all the furniture,” Harshavardhan said....