(A file picture of Wildflower Hall)

Himachal Pradesh High court has given a big relief to Himachal Pradesh government by accepting its appeal to take over luxurious Wildflower Hotel (Chharabra) near Shimla, which is being run by Oberoi Group Hotels- East India Hotels Limited.

Accepting the appeal of the state government to take over possession of the Hotel, Justice Satyen Vaidya in an order announced on Friday, directed the Oberoi Hotels to hand over the possession of Wildflower Hotel to the state government within two months.

Wildflower Hall used to be the official residence of Lord Kitchener, the former Commander of the British Army in India before Independence and was handed over to the Himachal Pradesh government after the Independence. Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation was running a Hotel in the complex which was gutted in fire in 1993.

After the incident the state government had leased out the property to the Oberoi Hotels and a luxury hotel was being run there for nearly three decades.  

The state government had moved the HP High Court after Oberoi Hotels failed to pay the revenue equity of nearly Rs 120 crore as agreed in the lease agreement for more than 25 years, to take possession of the property.

The High Court had given option to the state government to receive the pending amount and further lease out the property to the Hotel Group but the present Sukhvinder Singh government preferred to take back the possession of the Hotel after which the Court had directed the Oberoi Group to hand over the property to the state government.

Meanwhile, the Oberoi Group had filed a review petition in the High Court, which was dismissed by the Court on Friday and allowed the execution petition of the state government.

Additional Advocate General I N Mehta said, “HP High Court has dismissed the review petition of the Oberoi Hotels and allowed execution of possession of Wildflower Hotel within two months.”  

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