Citing violations in norms related to the extension of the lease, the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) officials, on Sunday, vacated the Fusion Foods restaurant in the city. The restaurant, located adjacent to Gurajada Kalakshetram at Siripuram, has been operational at the VMRDA premises, which was taken on lease by Harshavardhan.
The lease of the premises, in 2015, got extended up to 2024. Stating that any renewal beyond a period of three years needs approval from the state government, the VMRDA officials said that there was no such approval, in this case, causing a violation of norms. They further said that extension or allotment of a lease is granted only after calling for auction of shops.
Speaking to a TV channel, Harshavardhan said that he had been running the restaurant at the VMRDA premises for five years. Stating that the lease of the same was extended up to 2024, he questioned the motto behind the VMRDA’s move to vacate the restaurant. He further alleged that a notice was pasted on the gate on Saturday even though it was a public holiday.
It may be noted that Harshavardhan, who is believed to be associated with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), was questioned in connection with the attack on Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at the Visakhapatnam airport in 2018. The prime accused in the case, Srinivas, was an employee of Harshavardhan’s restaurant at the airport.
Several TDP leaders criticised the authorities for sealing the restaurant in Visakhapatnam. Quoting the recent incidents where properties of Sabbam Hari and GITAM were demolished in the city, the opposition party’s leaders said that the latest act of targetting Harshavardhan’s restaurant is political vendetta.