The months and years of speculation and suspense, and concern for the Taj family, has come to rest. That the Taj group was going to pull out all punches at the auction to retain the Taj Mansingh was a given and fairly evident with Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO, IHCL himself leading from the front. He had exuded confidence in getting the hotel back into the Taj’s fold. The outcome of the keenly watched auction has been on the expected lines. The iconic hotel in Lutyen’s Delhi is back with the Taj group as the hotel company retained the property in an auction conducted by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). It managed to fend off ITC Hotels which was also in the fray to acquire the landmark hotel.
“The Tata group’s Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has retained the property at a license fee of Rs 7.03 crore per month including GST. Earlier, they were paying Rs 3.94 crore per month as license fees,” a senior NDMC official told PTI.
The Taj Group operated the property since 1978, with a lease period of 33 years. The lease to operate Taj Mahal Hotel had expired in 2011 but NDMC had been entangled in a legal battle with IHCL. IHCL had moved to the supreme court, seeking its intervention to resolve the matter but the apex court had refused to mediate between the two disputing parties, forcing IHCL to withdraw its petition. The Taj Group had thus expressed “confidence in its credentials” and suggested that it was keen to partner with NDMC to ensure “the success of the iconic hotel”.