HYDERABAD: A division bench of Telangana High Court comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice C.V. Bhaskar Reddy directed the vigilance commissioner to probe the alleged misappropriation of Rs 234 crore in the department of youth advancement, tourism and culture concerning the allotment of lands to private organisations under public private partnership mode.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Bakka
Judson, a Congress activist, who requested the court to direct appropriate
action on private parties such as Ocean Park Multi Tech Private Limited,
Hyderabad Trade Expo Pvt Ltd, Jubilee Hills Resorts Pvt Ltd, Jubilee Hall
Convention Centre, Jalavihar Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Secunderabad Golf
Course, Prasad Media Corporation Ltd, Pantaloon India Limited and GSG
Constructions Pvt Ltd.
He submitted that the department violated the terms of allotment of land in
their favour under build, operate and transfer (BOT) scheme in public
private partnership mode in terms of rents to the state government.
His counsel argued that the companies entered into public-private
partnership mode agreement with the tourism department and were allotted the
work of developing 13 projects. The companies leased out valuable
government lands to build tourism projects. As per GO 869, these companies
had to pay lease rental and additional development premium towards the lands
allotted to them, but they ignored payment, due to which the government lost
Rs 234 crore, counsel said.
Further, the counsel informed the court that recently, the government had taken a
the decision to waive Rs 234 crore which was due from private companies.
Government counsel said the land parcels which were allotted to these
companies were in PPP mode, and the business with these companies was
contractual in nature.
As the petitioner already submitted a representation to the director general
of vigilance and enforcement department, the court opined that it would be
appropriate to direct the vigilance department to take appropriate steps
towards the conduct of the investigation to unearth lapses on the part of the
official respondents and the private firms in the discharge of their obligations
towards payment of rent.