Hotel Centaur Mumbai
(The auction, scheduled…)
MUMBAI: Tulip Star Hotel (formerly known as Centaur) at Juhu is up for sale. The Asset Reconstruction Company (India) Ltd (Arcil), which invited bids from prospective clients last week, has set a reserve price of Rs 1, 315 crore for the six-acre sea-facing property on Juhu Tara Road.
The auction, scheduled for next month, comes after owner V Hotels failed to repay a Rs 235-crore loan. The sale will include the land, buildings and structures, machinery, plant, fixture and fittings on "as is where is and as is what" basis.
In 2001, hotelier Ajit Kerkar's Tulip Hospitality Services Pvt Ltd (currently known as V Hotels Limited) acquired the hotel under the then NDA government's divestment programme from Hotel Corporation of India for Rs 153 crore. The company holds 50% of the paid up capital of V Hotels. The board of Tulip Star consists of chairman A B M Good and managing director Kerkar.
Last month, the Bombay high court restrained Tulip from creating any third-party rights on 2.5 lakh sq ft of the hotel or change its facade . Financial woes had forced Tulip to form a joint venture with developer Nirmal Lifestyle to turn the 2.5 lakh sq ft into a retail space.
Nirmal was to pay about Rs 31 crore in instalments and Tulip had to obtain approvals from lenders. But the approvals were not obtained and the matter went to court. Commenting on Arcil's decision to put the property on sale, Dharmesh Jain of Nirmal said: "We are exploring all options as we have a stake in the property and have to safeguard our interest."
The hotel has been embroiled in litigation since the NDA regime sold it to Kerkar. The Left parties had demanded an inquiry by the CBI or the Central Vigilance Commission into the sale of the Juhu Centaur as well as the Airport Centaur Hotel, alleging serious irregularities. The party had claimed that both properties were "underpriced".
The Congress-led UPA that came to power in 2004 ordered a CBI inquiry into the deal. The investigating agency did not find anything amiss and closed the case in 2008.