PNB scam: Gitanjali Group bagged SEZ land in Hyderabad at throwaway price

February 18, 2018
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PNB scam: Gitanjali Group bagged SEZ land in Hyderabad at throwaway priceHYDERABAD: Hyderabad Gems SEZ Limited (Rajiv Gems Park), a wholly owned subsidiary of Gitanjali Group owned by Punjab National Bank scam accused, Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, is a perfect example of how the government gave away prime land to private SEZs at throwaway prices. And even after 10 years, only a few acres of land have been utilized by the developer.

TSIIC Shamshabad zone officials told TOI that Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) executed a sale deed on April 25, 2014, in favour of the private developer, Hyderabad Gems SEZ, for Rs 3.75 crore for a 95-acre land parcel in continuation of sale agreement struck for the same amount in 2005. The land was given at Rs 4 lakh per acre while the running rate in 2005 was ?50 lakh per acre and in 2014 was Rs 1 crore.

PNB scam: Gitanjali Group bagged SEZ land in Hyderabad at throwaway price

The SEZ is located near the international airport and Aga Khan Academy and the current market value of the 95-acre land parcel is pegged at more than ?100 crore.

Originally, land allotment sale agreement and sale deed were both hammered out during Congress rule in united AP. However, Gitanjali Group issued 12% non-convertible debentures to Life Insurance Corporation of India, aggregating Rs 125 crore in 2009-10. The debentures are secured by ‘first paripassu charge’ (equitable charge of creditors) over immovable properties of Hyderabad Gems Sez Limited.

While issuing orders for transferring government rights to the developer, the then APIIC officials claimed SEZ created 3,000 jobs, but just 550 employees were employed. Only five units are operating in the 171-acre SEZ. Corporation officials claimed the developer is constructing three more buildings behind design factory unit.

Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation general manager (IPU) and project consultant R Krishna Murthy told TOI, “Allotments were done in two phases to them. Defence has given a red signal for 58 acres citing security reasons. No constructions were allowed as a defence research centre, RCI (Research Centre Imarat) is adjacent to it. Remaining 18 acres after-sale deed and buffer of RCI is unutilized. TSIIC still has a right on it. We haven’t issued any notice for resuming this land.”