Reliance Industries Ltd, which recently launched its telecom service Jio, owes Rs. 1,576.90 crore in additional premium charges to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region
Development Authority as a lease-holder of two plots in Bandra Kurla Complex, an RTI query by activist Anil Galgali has revealed.
Mr. Galgali has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding recovery of the amount within 30 days with interest. “If the amount is not
recoverable then, the government should take possession of the plot and once again re-allot it to the highest bidder which will bring revenue to the MMRDA and will
help in initiating public development activities,” he said in his letter.
After Mr. Galgali sought information about the outstanding amounts to MMRDA from all categories of lease-holders, the MMRDA administration on Friday provided
the lists containing information about private lessees, government lessees, and public sector organisations.
The information obtained showed that RIL was charged additional premium for three plots — G/C-64, G/C 66, and G/RG-1A — acquired from MMRDA and the
amount had accumulated over the years.
While the company has fully paid Rs. 4,94,621 for G/RG-IA plot, the company has not paid dues of Rs. 1187.59 crore for G/C-64 and Rs. 389.31 crore for G/C-
Mr. Galgali said that according to the government norms, if a lease-holder does not start construction work on the leased plot for four years after acquiring, he has to
pay a premium charge to the MMRDA for holding prime real estate.
“Lessees were given extended time to start construction of their projects. These extensions resulted in accrual of Rs. 2,055.67 crore as premium for the MMRDA.
Out of the total outstanding, MMRDA has received 426.98 crore and still has pending dues of Rs.1,628.69 crore. Out of the pending outstandings, Reliance alone
owes Rs.1,576.90 crore to MMRDA,” Mr. Galgali told The Hindu. When contacted for a response, a Reliance Industries spokesperson said, “MMRDA had
recognised the force majeure with regards to Plot Number C/64, as there was a court stay on construction between October 2007 and March 2012. The MMRDA
in the last authority meeting decided to appoint a committee and we are awaiting further communication from MMRDA on the same.”
As per the documents shared by RIL, the issue of the premium was discussed in MMRDA’s meeting held on August 26, 2015 chaired by Chief Minister Devendra
Fadnavis. In the meeting MMRDA Commissioner pointed out that if the court stay period of four years and five months is deducted from the then premium dues of
Rs. 883 crore, RIL will have to pay only Rs. 53 crore. Mr. Fadnavis had given instructions that legal opinion be taken.
“Reliance had earlier cited the legal dispute between the Ambani brothers for the delay in starting construction. The additional premium due was less than Rs. 400
crore when I last checked. But, now it has swelled to Rs.1,576 crore, and the government needs to do something in public interest,” Mr. Galgali said.