NDMC orders probe in Le Méridien licence fee row
More than three months after it cancelled the licence of the Le Méridien hotel here over non-payment of dues, the NDMC has decided to probe the role of its officials in alleged irregularities in the recovery of the amount the hotel owed the civic body.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) ordered an internal probe after its ex-chairman Jalaj Srivastava, himself under the CBI scanner in the case, approached Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwial claiming he was being "falsely implicated".
The luxury hotel's licence was cancelled by the NDMC in March this year over the non-payment of dues of Rs 523 crore. "The panel will place its report before the Council which will take further action," an NDMC official said on the condition of anonymity.
There has been a controversy over Le Méridien's licence fee since 2015 with allegations of irregularities against NDMC officials in the recovery of fees from the 5-star property located in the city's Lutyens' Zone.
It is alleged that the NDMC allowed a settlement of dues by accepting a one-time amount of over Rs 150 crore, when Srivastava was its chairman, which allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 400 crore to the exchequer.
"There are several officials in the NDMC who had accused Srivastava of irregularities in the deal," the official said.
Srivastava, in turn, has also accused NDMC staffers of "concealing facts and misleading the council", he said.
"Therefore, it was felt that an internal panel be set up to probe the issue," he said.
Srivastava, now an additional secretary in the Union agriculture ministry, had written to Kejriwal in March alleging he was being "falsely implicated" by the council.
Last year, the Central government had constituted the K K Pathak Committee to look into the alleged irregularities in the payment of dues by four luxury hotels under the NDMC, including Le Méridien.