New Delhi: Failing to auction the iconic Taj Mansingh hotel in Lutyen’s Delhi in two attempts, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has decided to relax the eligibility criteria for bidders and reduce the minimum number of bids required. The decision was taken at a council meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday.

The auction had to be put off twice as it received less than the required number of bids for the five-star property to go under the hammer, New Delhi MP and NDMC member Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters. “So, now the minimum number of bids has been reduced from three to two. The minimum turnover eligibility has also has been reduced for bidders. The details will be notified soon."

Earlier, the civic body had issued an annulment notice for the e-auction in June when it had to be cancelled since only Tata Group-led Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), the existing operator, had submitted its bid for retaining the property. The bid for the only other participant, ITC, was not accepted on technical grounds. The re-auction was to be held on 18 July had the NDMC received at least three bids.

The Taj Mansingh was given to the Tata group in 1978 on a 33 year lease, which ended in 2011. The company was given nine temporary extensions since. However, the civic body could not auction the property then since it was tied up in a legal battle with IHCL.

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