14 May, 2021

Check-Out Chequers

The people behind it may be upright. But in the hotel sales, did they err in valuations? More Coverage

Jitender Gupta
Check-Out Chequers
It seemed as if they were trained to speak the same words in the same appreciative tone. Without exception, the new owners of the government-run hotels that have recently been sold praised disinvestment minister Arun Shourie. "No one was favoured in the process," says Lalit Suri, a Rajya Sabha MP and owner of the Delhi-based Bharat Hotels, which picked up three properties. Adds Sushil Gupta, who owns the Grand Hyatt property and successfully bid for the state-run Qutab Hotel, "The bidding was open and transparent." Shourie himself has taken it as a personal affront when critics have alleged wrongdoings in the ongoing spate of disinvestment.

Just a few days ago, he got emotional when a Shiv Sena MP, Sanjay Nirupam, accused him of favouring a bidder and his colleagues of being corrupt. But as the days go by, the lingering doubts that everything was not hunky-dory with the disinvestment process are gaining strength. And this seems especially believable about the manner in which the properties owned by the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and the Hotels Corporation of...

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