The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has taken over a plot of land which is reportedly a property of Lanka Realty Investments PLC (LRI), only after they were issued a directive by the Attorney General’s (AG) Department to cancel the agreement.
Speaking to us, a senior official from NHDA, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that the decision to take possession of the land on Darley Road in Colombo 10 was directed by the AG’s Department due to unlawful development acts which were against the signed agreement between the stakeholders.
“When LRI did not work as per the agreement signed, we as a Government organisation asked for advice from the AG’s Department and they responded back with a solution to cancel the existing agreement. Hence, after cancelling the agreement, NHDA took over the possession (of the land),” the senior official said.
Adding further, the official assured that before the possession of the land, NHDA had informed it to L&T Infrastructure Development Ltd., with whom the official agreement is signed.
“If LRI has an issue, they should discuss it with L&T Infrastructure Development Ltd. NHDA has no business with LRI and the possession of the land is done lawfully with the permission of AG’s Department,” the official added.
LRI Board Director Mohammed Jamaldeen stated that NHDA, along with the police, had forcibly entered the property and taken possession of the land last Sunday (19) without any prior notice or announcement by the officials.
“They forcibly evicted the security personnel from the property without any court order. However, even if something is illegal, according to the law of land, the officials need to have a court order before taking the land into their possession. This shows how lawless the country has become,” Jamaldeen highlighted.
Emphasising more on the incident, he said that LRI’s only resort is the justice system, as the police did not take any action when the complaint was filed.
“We are confident that the status quo will be effectively re-established by the courts; hence we will be filing a court case,” he added. According to him, all payments pertaining to the land were settled to NHDA in 2016.
Meanwhile, Anusha Wijesekara, on behalf of LRI and Corporate Secretarial (Pvt.) Ltd., sent a letter to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) last Tuesday (22).
“Whilst the owner of the property, Oak Street (Pvt.) Ltd., was in peaceful and undisturbed possession of the said property as aforesaid, on Sunday, 19 September 2021, some unknown persons, along with a few officials of the NHDA with the Police, had forcibly entered the said property by removing part of the fence surrounding the property and evicted the owner’s security personnel from the property, without any court order permitting eviction of its owner from the property,” the CSE corporate disclosure states.
“Oak Street (Pvt.) Ltd has lodged complaints with the Inspector General of Police and law enforcement authorities against this wrongful and illegal act/s of the officers of the NHDA and will be seeking legal redress in the appropriate court of law,” the disclosure adds.
Oak Street is formerly known as L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd.