The Board of Trustees of Cochin Port, which met here on Wednesday, rejected a plea by the LuLu group of companies to return the upfront premium of Rs. 71 crore, which it had paid for a 30-year lease of 26 acres of port land on Bolgatty island.

The board decided that the request by the LuLu group could not be entertained as the lease agreement did not have any clause that enabled the return of the money under any circumstance. Clasue 1 (a) of the lease agreement says that the lessee had paid Rs. 71.37 lakh to the lessor as one-time upfront premium for the lease of the land and that the premium is non-refundable under any circumstance.

A board member said that the trustees’ meeting briefly considered the request by the LuLu group.

The matter was not on the agenda but was placed on the table. The LuLu group’s request and associated developments were discussed in the light of The Hindu reports raising apprehensions of undervaluation and possible breach of contract over the building of 572 “service’’ apartments without keeping the port trust in the know.

The chairman of the port trust Paul Antony is learnt to have informed the board that all other matters related to the land lease on Bolgatty island would be legally examined before any decision was taken.

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