The official liquidator appointed by the Bombay high court is contemplating to sell the Aamby Valley land in parts with no takers for the auction of the entire Sahara Group project, sources associated with the process said.
The Supreme Court had announced the auction of the Aamby Valley land in August 2017 with the official liquidator inviting bids at a reserve price of Rs 37,392 crore. The auction process began three days after the SC declined to entertain the beleaguered Sahara Group’s plea to postpone the auction of the prime hill station property.
Seven months have passed since the auction notice was issued, but not a single bidder has expressed interest to buy the whole project. The official liquidator is now planning to seek help of the district administration and the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) to sell the land in parcels.
Sources in the administration said they were not getting one buyer to invest such a huge amount on the hill station property spread over nearly 7,000 acres. The bid was announced to partly recover the pending dues of the Sahara Group to various lenders.
The sources said during a meeting held last week between the liquidator and officials from the district administration and the PMRDA, it was decided to auction the land in phases.
The sources added that if the land was sold in parcels, they would have to later come together and form a consortium as the project comes under the state government’s hill station policy. “This could be an added issue, as there would have to be like-minded people buying the land,” a source said.
PMRDA commissioner Kiran Gitte told TOI that they would facilitate the liquidator for the auction process. “ PMRDA will support the auction process as the hill station should develop further,” he said.
The district collectorate and the PMRDA were trying to help the liquidator find “a good bidder” and assist with all permissions and necessary the documents. “In case of any irregularities in the construction, we will have check for regularization by levying the necessary penalty. However, the question of who would pay the penalty will be decided once the auction process is completed,” Gitte said.
Another source said that auctioning of the Aamby Valley land in parcels might be a concern for many as as the promoter had developed the hill station in a particular manner. “The promoter is in a financial mess, but we want to ensure that the sanctity of the first hill station of the state remains intact,” Gitte said.
The Supreme Court had in February allowed fractured auction of Sahara’s Aamby Valley land after two attempts for international auction of the entire asset at one go failed and asked the court-appointed liquidator and receiver of the property to complete the task within two months.
Aamby Valley is Sahara’s most valuable project, comprising luxury resorts, man-made lakes and an airport.