Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) and the Madras Race Club (MRC) have moved the Madras High court challenging huge rental arrear demands raised by revenue authorities for lands leased to them in the city and subsequent freezing of their bank accounts.
In separate petitions, the two bodies submitted that the revenue authorities had revised the lease amount by manifold and raised exorbitant demands as arrears–Rs 1,553 crore for the TNCA and Rs 310 crore for the MRC.
They also realised some money from the bank accounts of the two under the Revenue Recovery Act toward the arrears.
The petitions came up before different judges who passed interim orders giving partial relief.
Justice K Ravichandrabaabu, admitting the petition by the TNCA, restrained the authorities from realising any further amount from the bank accounts of the association over the Rs 1,553 crores rental arrears till further orders.
The demand notice was issued by the Mylapore-Triplicane Tahsildar on September 11, demanding rental arrears from 2001 for the land on which the M A Chidambaram Cricket Stadium was situated here.
The judge posted the matter to November 21 for further hearing.
When the petition by the MRC came up for hearing, Justice M Duraiswamy permitted the club to operate one of the five bank accounts frozen to meet its day-to-day expenses and posted the matter to November 21.
The judge directed that the club shall not draw any further amount from the remaining frozen accounts and not take any coercive steps.
The counsel for the TNCA submitted that authorities had increased the rental amount “suddenly” by 20,713 times compared to the rent paid till 2000 and frozen eight bank accounts of the association.
The petition submitted the TNCA was a non-profit organisation that nurtured talented cricketers and provided world-class facilities for the game with an average annual income of Rs 25 to Rs 30 crore and expenditure of Rs 22 to 23 crore.
The total income generated by it through sponsorships, sale of tickets for matches and share of media rights in the last 86 years of its existence would not come remotely close to the amount demanded, it said.
The land in Chepauk area here was given to the association in 1936 on a 30-year lease for building a modern stadium and the lease was extended twice later.
In 1995, the annual rental was fixed at around Rs 50,000 for the first five years of the 20-year lease period with a provision to enhance the rent for the subsequent period.
Subsequently, in 2004, authorities fixed the rent at the market value from April, 2000 and demanded Rs 22.98 crore.
The petition said the tahsildar has issued a demand notice seeking Rs 1,553 crore and sought to quash it.
The MRC in its petition said the club was assigned 160.86 acres of land for a lease period of 99 years on a yearly rent of Rs 614.13 in March, 1946 which was valid till 2044. The amount was paid in advance for the entire lease period.
It contended that no right was given to either party to revisit the rent determined in the lease deed dated March 8, 1946. The land was developed as a world class race course.
However, in December 1970, the government enhanced the rent by 14 per cent and raised a demand for Rs 310.70 crore as the revised rent for July 1974 to June 2004, which is already under legal challenge.
In June last year, the tahsildars of Velacherry and Guindy, where the race course properties are located, issued demand notices again. Consequently, penal proceedings were initiated and by the November 14 last order bank accounts frozen, the club said.
The counsel for the MRC submitted that since the bank accounts were frozen, it was not in a position to meet the day-to-day expenditure for maintaining and feeding the race horses and ponies numbering 700 and running the club.
The petition sought to quash all the proceedings and to restrain the authorities concerned from interfering with the smooth functioning of the club. (PTI)