Bengaluru: After seven years of court cases and political intrigue, Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Co. Ltd (IHCL) retained the capital’s iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, or Taj Mansingh, in an auction conducted by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on Friday. ITC Hotels was the other bidder in the auction.
Indian Hotels retains iconic Taj Mansingh
“We are delighted that the iconic Taj Mahal, New Delhi, which has been an important part of the cultural and historic fabric of the National Capital, will continue to remain a part of the IHCL family,” said Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and CEO, IHCL, in a statement.
“We would like to thank our customers for their enthusiastic support and our employees, who have always offered exceptional service to our guests for over 40 years.” IHCL runs the Taj chain of hotels.
“We look forward to investing in the hotel and taking it to new heights of Indian hospitality. The Taj legend will continue to serve Delhi with elegance and charm,” the statement said.
When contacted, ITC declined to comment.
As part of the 33-year lease agreement, IHCL will pay a licence fee of ₹7.03 crore per month, up from the ₹3.94 crore it was paying earlier.
The Taj Mansingh in central Delhi opened in 1978 after Indian Hotels entered a 33-year contract with NDMC.
After the contract expired in 2011, the licence was extended nine times.
Finally, in an effort to raise more revenue, NDMC decided to find a new operator through an auction, giving Indian Hotels the right to first refusal.
This was challenged by Indian Hotels before the Delhi High Court and then in the Supreme Court.
The apex court gave a go-ahead for the auction, turning down Indian Hotels’ plea to extend its lease term.