Sahara’s ‘Aamby Valley’ put up for auction

Mumbai, (IANS) In a major setback to the Subrata Roy-owned Sahara Group, the Bombay High Court on Monday put up its prestigious Aamby Valley city properties in Maharashtra for public auction.

The Official Liquidator of the High Court for the Aamby Valley City in the twin hill stations of Lonavala-Khandala has set a reserve price of Rs 37,392 crore as part of efforts to partially recover the Sahara Group’s pending dues to various lenders and investors.

The auction process was initiated three days after the Supreme Court declined to entertain the group’s plea to postpone the auction of its prime hill station properties nestled in the lush green Western Ghats in Pune district.

Bombay High Court Official Liquidator Vinod Sharma issued notices in the media on Monday opening up the public auction of “sale/lease” on an “as-is-where-is-whatever-there is” of the Aamby Valley City, around 120 km from here.

In view of the huge quantum of properties to be disposed, the auction would be conducted in two phases spread over two days, the public notice said.

The first phase would include the verification of the KYC of prospective bidders. After they qualify, they would be required to submit bids with 15 per cent of Reserve Price as earnest money deposit or roughly Rs 6,000 crore, a Sahara Group official explained.

The total property going under the hammer is 8,493.163 acres, comprising an integrated hill-city township called Aamby Valley City Development, which was the first of its kind Megalopolis in India.

As per the reserve price, this works out to around Rs 4,40,26,000 per acre.

However, market sources claim the actual prevalent market prices of these properties, including the constructions, amenities, world-class infrastructure and the goodwill, could be at least thrice the reserve price or in excess of Rs 100,000 crore.

Describing the property for the prospective bidders, the Official Liquidator said it was situated over a verdant expanse, nested amidst the picturesque environs of the great Sahyadri Mountain range.

“The ultra-exclusive chartered city has residential options ranging from the Timber Chalets to fabulously modern and customized villas in distinct architectural styles and several amenities such as gold course, airport, hospital, adventure sports, retail, entertainment, international school and hospitality,” the auction notice said.

Among the high-fliers who have invested in properties in the Aamby Valley City include top businessmen, film stars, cricketers and other celebrities. It is ranked as one of the tourist hotspots in the state.

Among those interested in bidding for the properties include major Indian developers and corporate houses, but Sahara Group officials declined to comment.

Spread over 4,300 hectares (10,600) acres of semi-hilly terrain, it is reputed to be India’s first private, planned city which was designed by Gruen-Bobby Mukherji and Associates in 2003.

Besides a private airport, the complex has three huge artificial lakes including the largest which is 1.5 km long, an 18-hole golf course, big gardens, jogging and cycling tracks which implement some of the best environmental practices and urban landscaping.

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