The Connaught hotel, sealed off for 2 years, gets bids from Tatas, Byke, Sarovar

The Connaught, a 31-year premium Delhi hotel sealed off for two years after murder controversy, has attracted bids from Tata group-controlled Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL), Sarovar Hotels, as well as The Byke Hotels and Resorts, Mint reported on Monday.

Sarovar Hotels manages and franchises a chain of business and leisure hotels across destinations in India and overseas. The company was incorporated in 1993 and is based in Mumbai. In January 2017, Louvre Hotels Group bought a majority stake in Sarovar Hotels.

Mumbai-based The Byke, founded in 1990, runs hotels in Jaipur, Manali (Himachal Pradesh) and Kovalam (Kerala). The report quoted the spokespersons of the three hotel firms as confirming the development.

The Connaught was shut down by North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) in May 2016, after the probe into the murder of NDMC estate officer MM Khan showed the alleged involvement of then promoter Ramesh Kakkar, who was arrested along with six others in the case. Kakkar also owed around ₹140 crore as licence fee to the civic body. Khan was killed a day before he was to pass the final order on The Connaught’s lease terms.

The Mint report also said that while The Taj Mansingh, put on the block by NDMC, has attracted little interest and its sale might get delayed, whereas Hotel Asian International in Janpath, also put up for sale by the civic body, has received interests from IHCL, The Byke, and Bloom Hotel Group. The report quoted a person as saying that in case IHCL takes up the property, the Tata group-controlled firm would use it to expand its affordable hotel chain.

“Both the hotels are at great locations, but the potential problem is that these hotels were constructed 40 to 50 years ago. While the structure of the buildings is a problem, the building bylaws and fire laws have changed completely. That is something the bidders are grappling with,” said a person in the report who is involved in the bidding process.

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