The Delhi administration has issued notices to several hotel owners in the city to produce lease deeds and other documents related to use of land in the Delhi Airport Aerocity, and asked them to pay the stamp duty or face action.
The estimated amount of stamp duty evasion by these hotels is between `60 crores to `80 crores.
The city’s revenue department has send notices to seven Aerocity hotels, a few of which have already started functioning. These include Lemon Tree Premier owned by M/s Lemon Tree Hotels Limited; Holiday Inn of M/s Wave Hospitality Private Limited; Red Fox Hotel of M/s Hyacinth Hotels Private Limited; J.W. Marriott of M/s Aria Hotels Consultancy Services Private Limited; Dusit Hotel of M/s Bird Airport Hotel; Novotel Pullman Hotel of M/s Caddie Hotel Private Limited; and Ibis Hotel of M/s InterGlobe Hotel Private Limited.
According to the data available with the revenue department, six acres of land was leased to Lemon Tree Premier Hotel while 12 acres was leased to Holiday Inn. Likewise, six acres were provided to Red Fox, four acres to J.W. Marriott, nine acres to Ibis, two acres to Novotel and 10 acres to Dusit.
The hotels have been warned that if the documents are not submitted within the stipulated period then “prosecution may be initiated under Chapter VII of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 against the company and its officers.”
Officials in the department said that the agreement between the hotel owners and developer, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), comes under lease agreement and it is not a development agreement, hence the payment of the stamp duty to the city government is compulsory, even while entering into an agreement with the developer. On the other hand, the hoteliers claim that the land was obtained through a development agreement signed with DIAL and does not fall under the purview of stamp duty as it is not part of the lease agreement. In the national capital, imposition, collection and other material relating to stamp duty are governed and regulated by the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. It is mandatory under law to pay stamp duty on lease deeds/agreements. Also, its regulation for a period of one year or more is compulsory under Section 107 of Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and Section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908.
DIAL, a joint venture between the AAI and the GMR group, had planned to build a hospitality district with 10 plots for hotels and another three for retail spaces and a convention centre in the 43-acre expanse.
The idea behind a hospitality district near the airport was primarily to make Delhi a transit destination for travellers on the lines of Changi Airport in Singapore or the J.F.K. Airport in the US. The total investment in this project is estimated to be around `12,000 crores.
”Upon review of company records and information available in public domain, it has come to our notice that Spanks Hotels Private Limited (Company No. 1) has granted to use 0.95 lakh square feet of land at the Delhi Airport Aerocity hospitality district for the development of a hotel under the brand name Red Fox. It has also come to our notice that the right to use the aforesaid land has been given to Hyacinth Hotels Private Limited under a sub-lease agreement with Company No 1. As per the records available with Registrar of Companies, Company No. 1 merged with Lemon Tree Hotels Private Limited,” the notice sent to one of the hotels read.
“Taking reference of the above information and upon inspection of records available with us, we are of the prima facie opinion that Company No. 1 has not paid applicable stamp duty as per the Indian Stamp Act 1899 (“Act”) on sub-lease agreement executed with Company No. 2 for the use of aforesaid lands at the hospitality district of the Delhi Airport Aerocity. In this regard, Company No. 3 being transferee company to the scheme merger with Company No. 1, is hereby directed to produce documents undersigned office within 7 (seven) days of receipt of this notice,” the notice added.
Seven Aerocity hotels get stamp duty notices