Chennai developer hopes to win case against Dunlop

September 22nd, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 22 (IANS) The city-based property development group VGN is hopeful that the land dispute with tyre manufacturer Dunlop India here will end soon, the case going in its favour. “Our case is strengthened by the Tamil Nadu government order issued four months back which states that V.N. Devadoss (group promoter) is the rightful owner of the land under question,” VGN Developers managing director D. Pratish told IANS.

The group plans to build a mini township with 10,000 apartments and other facilities on a small plot in Ambattur once the court case ends in its favour.

“There are two cases - one in the Madras High Court and one in the Supreme Court,” company chairman Devadoss said.

The dispute concerns a small portion of the 60.86-acre plot that was auctioned by Dunlop India under a rehabilitation scheme drawn up in 2004 by the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) after the Kolkata-based tyre company was declared sick in 1998.

In 2001, Dunlop India decided to sell the 60.86 acres on as-is-where-is basis and in 2004, when bids were invited, Devadoss bid the highest at Rs.243.4 million.

Dunlop executed the sale deed in June 2004 and affirmed that it had given vacant possession; all title documents were issued in Devadoss’ favour by the revenue authorities in August.

After Dunlop India was acquired by the Kolkata-based Ruia group in 2005, the company disputed the sale of some portion of the land on the ground it was not surplus or unused.

The company blamed the erstwhile management for withholding the fact that land cannot be sold to an outsider as per the deed of assignment by the Tamil Nadu government in 1963.

Last August, the executive magistrate and revenue district officer of Ponneri said in an order: “The impugned land should be placed in as-is-where-is condition without any change, construction, removal of machinery or apparatus and status quo should be maintained.”

In March this year, the Tamil Nadu government passed an order to the effect that the land sale to Devadoss is in order, which in effect overruled the executive magistrate and revenue district officer’s earlier order, said Pratish.

The tyre manufacturer has filed a case in the Madras High Court to quash the order.

When contacted, Dhrubajyoti Nandi, Dunlop’s vice president of corporate communications said: “The matter is in the court and we will not be able to comment.”

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