The Kerala Cricket Association’s proposed international stadium at Pambayimoola in Edakochi seems to be a distant dream with Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau giving his nod for registering case against 18 persons, including KCA officials, for alleged corruption in purchase of land for the stadium.
According to officials, the accused include T C Mathew, KCA secretary, and T R Balakrishnan, president of KCA, and S Sarma, former Minister for Registration.
VACB officials in Kochi said a detailed investigation has to be carried out as they suspect several misappropriations.
KCA executive members constitute the first 10 accused in the list, which also includes five partners of LIS - a financial institution from which KCA bought the land in 2009.
Former minister Sarma is the 12th accused in the case with T C Mathew and T R Balakrishnan being the first and second accused, respectively. Marapandian, former principal secretary of the Tax Department, is 13th accused.
In October 2008, KCA invited tender for BOT-based construction of the stadium for which they received 24 proposals.
On the same month, a stadium committee was also formed to oversee the development of the new stadium.
In the special general body meeting held in March 2009, a company named Infrastructure Venture Consortium’(IVC) was selected for the BOT contract.
“The allegation is that in another meeting held in February, 2009, prior to the general body meeting, KCA recommended the name of IVC. However, IVC sent its expression of interest only in the first week of March, 2009,” an official of VACB said.
According to VACB officials, they suspect that IVC is a bogus company which had no experience in infrastructure development.
“So we have to interrogate officials of IVC regarding their past projects. We had recovered a letter written by an official of IVC to KCA which stated that the company had no previous experience in the infrastructure development field and that the company was formed for taking up the KCA project. The company was looking to hire experts for supervising the project,” officials said.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between IVC and landowners at Edakochi was executed in March, 2009 at Rs 1 crore per acre for 23 acres. But in the sale-deed copies signed on April, 2009, the amount was increased to Rs 1.10 crore per acre.
Vigilance officials said that when LIS bought the land in Edakochi in 2005, its price was Rs 10,000 for one cent and in 2009, it rose to Rs 40,000. However, in 2009, the KCA bought the land for Rs 1.18 lakh for a cent.
The Vigilance Court, Thrissur in June 2011 on the basis of a petition filed by social activist Joy Kaitharath ordered a probe for causing the state exchequer allegedly a loss of Rs 19 crore by waiving stamp duty and registration on the land transferred to Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) to build the proposed stadium.