Audit prevented as cover-up: Ramesh Chennithala

CAG scrutiny prevented by state govt to hide major financial irregularities in KIIFB and KIAL, says Oppn leader

Published: 18th September 2019 05:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2019 05:58 AM   |  A+A-

Ramesh Chennithala

Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (File photo)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was prevented by the state government to cover up major financial irregularities taking place in Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL). While addressing media persons here on Tuesday, the senior Congress leader said KIAL board had supported the CPM out of the way and had given an advertisement in the CPM mouthpiece Deshabhimani supporting the election campaign of EP Jayarajan who is the local MLA. In a similar move, an advertisement was given in Deshabhimani during the ‘Navakerala yatra’ of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Chennithala said.

He said that when the Left Government assumed office, another major advertisement was given by KIAL in Deshabhimani supporting the government and he said that Kannur airport management would have done several outof- the-way dealings in the three years after the Left Front Government assumed office. He said according to the records of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, KIAL is a state government undertaking while Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is a non-government company.

He said while KIAL had 64 per cent shares of Public Sector Undertakings and the state government, in CIAL the percentage was only 32.4 and hence no CAG audit. He said that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while posing the question as to why there was no audit in CIAL would have either not known this factor or deliberately covered this up. Chennithala said there were major discrepancies in KIIFB also and the government was denying permission for the CAG audit to cover up these irregularities.

He said that when KIIFB was floated by the UDF Government in 1999, provisions for CAG audit were provided under Rule 16(6) of KIIFB Act. However, through amendments brought in 2010 and 2016 by the LDF Government the audit provision of CAG was removed. He called for an audit of the CAG into the Masala bonds issued by KIIFB.

The Opposition leader said that KIIFB had already transferred an amount of Rs 10 crore to a company named TERANS for conducting an inspection on KIIFB projects. “This is a paper company functioning in two rooms and what is the credential of this firm? Why is KIIFB sanctioning huge amounts to such a company while there is a supervisory committee to check KIIFB projects?” Chennithala asked.

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