India / Using land Act, Maharashtra govt acquires office space in Reliance Centre building

The Indian Express : May 18, 2019, 11:46 AM

The Maharashtra government has used the Land Acquisition Act to acquire office space in the Reliance Centre building at Ballard Estate in South Mumbai, which used to be the corporate headquarters of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group until last year. After a long-drawn legal battle, the state acquired a 6,216 square foot premises on the building’s third floor.

Real estate dealers said the acquired space would command rental of nearly Rs 12 lakh a month. Ballard Estate fetches among the highest prices for commercial real estate in Mumbai.

Before it formally shifted its headquarters to suburban Santacruz in 2018, the Reliance Group’s board meetings and press conferences used to be held at Reliance Centre, with top management of various group companies of the finance-to-defence conglomerate, including Ambani himself, working from this office. Signalling that the acquisition of the office was complete, the government has published an award under the Land Acquisition Act, offering Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL), a group company, a total compensation of Rs 22.34 crore in lieu of the acquisition. At the time of filing this report, however, sources confirmed that RNRL had not accepted the compensation.

Official documents obtained by the Indian Express under the Right to Information show that Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition), Mumbai (island city), Sushma Satpute, originally passed the award in this regard on April 16, 2019. That day, RNRL was issued a notice, as mandated by law, giving it time till Friday to submit relevant documents for the transfer of the compensation amount. Satpute’s notice states that the “compensation amount would be deposited with the Bombay High Court if the company failed to submit the documents in due time”.