Sep 16 2011 11:34AM

HC clears takeover of Hotel Picnic

CHENNAI: The famous Hotel Picnic adjacent Ripon Buildings may finally have to go. Paving the way for the takeover of the building and the premium land, the Madras high court on Thursday dismissed the management's appeal against a single judge order.
"It is a case where a public property has been siphoned off under the cover of documents and protective umbrella of court orders. The prime property worth several crores of rupees leased for a noble cause was diverted for personal benefit of making profits. It is a case of exploitation of public property by putting up multi-storied buildings with palatial facade, for running a hotel business and personal aggrandisement," said a division bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice B Rajendran.
The property originally belonged to the Chennai Corporation, which leased about 57 grounds to the Victoria Public Hall Trust to promote public and private cultural and educational activities. Hotel Picnic got the prime
property by way of a sub-lease from the Victoria Public Hall Trust, and the sub-lease period ended on April 30, 1985. The hotel has been paying a monthly rent of Rs 4,000.
On April 1, 2011, Justice K Chandru had upheld Chennai Corporation's bid to take over the land, and held that since the Victoria Public Hall Trust had surrendered the property to the Corporation, the sub-lease too would cease to exist. Noting the hotel management had nothing to do with the trust, he said the lease deed between the hotel and the trust was 'heavily loaded in favour of the sub-lease (Hotel Picnic)'. Since the proposed renovation

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