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M Dhruva clients allege Lavasa in contempt of previous PIL order

Exclusive: The Bombay High Court declined interim relief in an action filed by M Dhruva & Partners on behalf of its client Crimson Hospitality Services against developers Lavasa Corporation, which allegedly violated a court injunction of an earlier public interest litigation (PIL).

The directors of Crimson filed suit no. 2957 of 2010 in the Bombay High Court against Lavasa Corporation in late November and approached the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) with a complaint in respect of Lavasa’s forthcoming IPO.

Crimson alleged that Lavasa had agreed to lease a property in November 2009 to construct a hotel in a Rs 45 crore development but that Lavasa later claimed that a court order in PIL No 148 of 2006 in fact prevented it from creating any third party rights.

Crimson has also filed an intervention application to be impleaded as a party respondent in the 2006 PIL seeking a contempt of court order because Lavasa had allegedly entered into the 2009 agreement in violation of the injunction.

On 7 December the Bombay High Court declined to grant interim relief to Crimson on the basis of assurances by Lavasa’s counsel Mr Godbole and the company’s assurance to SEBI that since the 2006 PIL was still operative there was “no apprehension that the suit property would be dealt with in any manner to the detriment of the alleged rights of the plaintiffs”.

“I see no reason to pass any ad-interim order when such a statement was recorded,” said Justice S C Dharmadhikari. “The order in the Public Interest Litigation is sufficient protection at this stage.”

Crimson has instructed M Dhruva & Partners founding partner Nishit Dhruva, who has roped in counsel Venkatesh Dhond, Sanjay Jain, Simil Purohit and Prakash Shinde.

Lavasa is represented by Mumbai law firm Markand Gandhi & Co and counsel Girish Godbole, Satyen Vora and Rohan Yagnik.

A Lavasa spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking comment on the case.

The case coincides but is separate from Lavasa’s current dispute with the environment ministry on its alleged violation of environmental regulations where an order is expected to be passed on or before the end of this year.

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