Lanco Hills is not the only company that finds itself in the dock over Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling that about 1600 acres of land in Manikonda in Hyderabad was owned by Wakf Board.
Land allotted to various multinational companies and institutions will now be affected by this verdict. Microsoft, the Indian School of Business, Polaris, Emaar and Infosys are some of the companies which were allotted land and have built huge offices.
Lanco, through its arm Lanco Hills Technology Park Pvt, has been working on developing a residential and IT SEZ in about 108 acres at Manikonda on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The project, which started in 2003-04, has got embroiled in a series of controversies, with the Wakf Board claiming the ownership of the land. Lanco filed a case in High Court over the claims of Wakf Board, but following the HC order, the company will now have to approach Wakf Board to resolve the isse.
Contrary to allegations, the land to Lanco was not allotted unlike to the other companies. The land was bought in an auction conducted by the then government and it had paid the highest amount in the bid to acquire the same. Lanco had paid about Rs4 crore an acre to get the ownership.
The price was widely considered as too high, as land values in the ares never had such fancy rates. In fact, it was following Lanco’s much publicized project that land prices in the area soared.
While other IT companies are not likely to be affected by the HC ruling, Lanco will find it difficult to sell the Rs 7,000 crore worth residential units as well as its IT SEZ to prospective customers, especially in view of Wakf Board’s earlier order to stop all construction activity on the site.