Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed immediate release of Rs 357 crore with accrued interest to Manaj Tollway Pvt Ltd, the road contractor that the Maharashtra government had refused to pay for works undertaken on two state highways.
Justice Anil Menon on Tuesday directed the prothonotary and senior master of the HC to release the amount which is deposited with the court. The directions were given after the Supreme Court dismissed Maharashtra government’s appeal challenging the HC order of March 5, 2021, upholding consent terms to pay Manaj Tollway.
The state government had signed a contract with Manaj Tollway in 2013, which the latter opted out of in 2015 and invoked arbitration.
On December 12, 2019, the HC passed an order finalising the consent terms signed between the contractor and the government. However, the government paid only Rs 1 crore and hence Manaj filed a contempt petition before the HC for non-compliance of its order.
Following the HC order, the state government deposited Rs 357 crore with the HC. However, the government contended that during the President Rule in the state in November 2019, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had approved the consent terms with the contractor. The consent terms were hastily signed and submitted in the HC without final approval of the finance and law and judiciary departments.
In March this year, the HC had rejected the government's review petition against Manaj and upheld the consent terms signed December 2019.
On September 13, the SC dismissed the government's appeal against the HC order. The HC has kept the contempt petition filed by Manaj Tollway for hearing in November.