Court refuses injunction sought by LRI to prevent allocation of land to foreign investor

The District Court of Colombo made Order refusing an Injunction sought by Lanka Realty Investment (formerly Ascot Holdings PLC) in an Action filed by the non-performing Lessee in respect of the Land in the Yala Tourism Zone originally leased to Ascot where Commercial operations were required to commence by 19th March 2018.

Ascot Holdings PLC sought to prevent the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority from taking possession of the land, carrying out development activities on the land and also preventing SLTDA from taking any steps to give the land to a third party. It was revealed in the Action that the Government had taken a decision to Lease the said Land to an International investor by ejecting the non-performing Lessee Ascot Holding who stands in the way as at present for the said development according to the SLTDA.

The Court identified in its Order that Lanka Realty had failed to commence operations by March 2018 and had also failed to satisfy Court that it had applied for an extension of time, unlike all other Lessees some of whom were now successfully carrying out commercial operations.

Court also identified that the allegations against the Chairperson of the SLTDA were without merit, noting that she took office only in December 2019, and all steps taken were in line with a previous Cabinet decision, based on default of the non performing Lessee.

The Court did however prevent SLTDA from acting upon specific documents (P12, P13, P22) in terminating Ascot. SLTDA maintain that the Lease has been terminated in terms of the Law as well as the Lease Agreement, for non-performance, without need to rely on the said documents.

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