The Adani Group has been successful in raising its stake in Kerala with the acquisition of Blue Star Realtors, a subsidiary of Housing Development Infrastructure (HDIL). Sources in the company affairs ministry and the Registrar of Companies (RoC) confirmed the development.
A query emailed to Adani corporate office didn’t elicit any response at the time of going to the press. Though the deal size is not yet known, according to market analysts it could be between Rs 1,050 crore and Rs 1,400 crore as an acre of land in this area will easily fetch anything between Rs 15 crore and Rs 20 crore. But HDIL is unlikely to have earned any premium for it due to distress sale, they added.
HDIL, which owned the 70-acre plot at Kalamassery in Kochi, wanted to set up an Rs 4,000 crore cyber city there. Blue Star Realtors had bought the land from Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT), a public sector undertaking, in October 2006 for Rs 91 crore. But the land price created a furore in the state, leading to several court cases. Petitioners had stated the land could have fetched Rs 700 crore as per the market value. HMT Employees’ Union (Citu) also moved the court protesting the deal.
The land, close to the Seaport-Airport Road, has SEZ status. No such large land is available in Kochi or anywhere in Kerala for industrial purposes. As per people close to the developments, it was a ‘cool and quiet’ deal for Adani. It also won some respite for HDIL, which has been playing a risky game in the realty sector and lately started exploring ways to get itself out of the abyss.
Following the acquisition, the board of Blue Star Realtors has been disbanded and replaced with new directors, including Gudena Jagannadha Rao, Deepak Krishna Gopal Maheshwari, Yogesh Dalal and Rajesh Jha — all hardcore Adani guys. The new directors were appointed between April and July this year. Meanwhile, HDIL website is defunct at present. “We are currently in the process of revising our website in consonance with the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016,” it says.
The Adani Group is present in Kerala through Vizhinjam Port and GAIL gas pipeline projects.
The scam-hit HDIL, promoted by Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan, had put up the land for sale in June 2013. The high decibel controversy around the sale of land by HMT had kept the then chief minister VS Achuthanandan away from the inauguration of HDIL cyber city project in February 2011. But the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court subsequently upheld the deal.
The cyber city, to be completed in three phases, was to create 60,000 direct jobs. This is not the first time that the Adani Group has bought an HDIL property. In January 2013, Adani Enterprises, the realty arm of the group, took over 2 acres of land near Andheri suburb in Mumbai for Rs 900 crore.