Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh) [India], December 9 (ANI/BusinessWire India): Lallooji & Sons, a 100-year-old leading turnkey solutions event management company, has strongly denied the Kumbh Mela administration's allegations against it of submitting false bills, and described the FIR registered against it and its key personnel by the Mela administration as illegal, and aimed at scuttling the legal process for recovery of outstanding dues.
Lallooji & Sons had entered into a contract with the Kumbh Mela administration and undertaken major works for setup of tin, tents, and supply of furniture for the Mela at Allahabad last year. The work was executed on an unprecedented scale, and the Kumbh Mela was the largest ever effort in terms of temporary camping ever executed in the country.
Lallooji & Sons executed all the works as per the agreement and to the satisfaction of the users.
"However, the dispute arose when Lallooji & Sons submitted bills amounting to Rs 155 crore for the works executed. The Mela administration made illegal deductions in the bills, and arrived at a figure of Rs 85 crore as the due amount. The administration did not release the payments, and kept pressurizing us to accept the revised amount," said Himanshu Agarwal of Lallooji & Sons.
With no resolution in sight, Lallooji & Sons approached the Allahabad High Court in December 2019 for release of the dues.
"The administration released the amount of Rs 85 crore following the high court's order on March 31, 2020, a full year after the Kumbh Mela had ended," said Himanshu Agarwal.
The firm again moved the high court for appointment of an arbitrator after the administration refused to do so in violation of the agreement. The high court appointed Justice (Retd) DPS Chouhan, the former chief justice of MP High Court, as the arbitrator for the dispute.
Lallooji & Sons filed a claim statement with the arbitrator, who directed the administration to submit its reply within a month. However, the administration did not do so and instead sought two more months' time to give a reply.
"The arbitrator fixed December 5 as the next date for hearing, but in a bid to scuttle the arbitration process, the Mela administration issued an office order on December 3 alleging fraud of Rs 109 crore by us, and debarring us from government contracts for five years," said Himanshu Agarwal.
Taking its malafide intention further, the administration filed a criminal FIR at Daraganj Thana against Lallooji & Sons and key personnel for fraud in respect of some letters which were filed as evidence during the arbitration process.
On December 5, the date of submitting its reply, the administration moved an application under section 16/2 of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act stating that the arbitrator is not competent to adjudicate the matter and seeking his termination.
"The intention of the administration is very clear. It wants to scuttle the arbitration process by any means. The illegal order to debar us and filing of the malafide FIR are to harass us, and to force us to accept the illegal decision of the administration. However, we are certain that no wrongdoing has been committed on our part. We are challenging the illegal actions of the administration at appropriate forums, and are determined to clear our name,"Himanshu Agarwal added.
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