Gallops at racecourse served closure orderBy Turf News | 06-Apr-2019
Swati Deshpande | TOI
Cracking the whip on Gallops, the fine dining restaurant on the racecourse, the Bombay high court on Friday ordered the court receiver to seal it immediately. BJR’s, the firm that runs the restaurant, has not complied with orders, including one passed last year by the Supreme Court to pay the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) Rs 18 crore within six weeks, in their almost decade-long turf war.
The HC ordered the court receiver to retain cutlery, crockery and tableware as is in the restaurant, but shut down computers and the office space and seal the premises of Gallops with the help of Tardeo police, present in court on orders.
In proceedings before Justice Gautam Patel, RWITC counsel Soli Cooper and Vivek Shiralkar said on Thursday BJR’s has done everything possible to ensure nothing is ever paid to the club, though an arbitrator ruled in its favour in 2017. BJR’s was directed to deposit Rs 18 crore and Rs 25 lakh per month.
Counsel Cherag Balsara said BJR’s top brass was unwell and sought time. Though the court kept the matter on Friday, Balsara had no instructions on when the payment would be made. “If it cannot pay, I am shutting down its operations,” said Justice Patel on Friday. Unconvinced by the “unwell” argument, he said “…but their restaurant runs on and generates profits day after day after day without anything being paid or deposited in the court”.
In his order, the judge said: “It is no longer open to these respondents to try and play on the sympathy of this court… They have exhausted all credibility with this court.”
Former RWITC chairman Vivek Jain said: “The order of closing down Gallops is a huge victory on a matter of principle. The eatery failed to honour its legal obligations for over a decade and I am delighted the judiciary has vindicated our stand.”
The dispute started in 2009 after the club ended its 2008 “catering contract’’ with Gallops. A long battle has been on since. More duelling seems in the offing as Khushroo Dhunjibhoy, chairman of RWITC, pointed out “this order does not give us re-possession of the premises. So the legal procedure to repossess will go on at some more cost to the club”.