The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the State Government to submit the details and other documents furnished by the Kochi Biennale Foundation to the government to recieve additional funds for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale fest which concluded here in March.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice K Vinod Chandran passed the order on a petition filed by G Ajith Kumar, secretary, Lantern Fine Arts Society, seeking an order to restrain the state from providing additional financial assistance to the foundation.
The High Court had restrained the government from disbursing any amount to the Kochi Biennale Foundation. The government had decided to allow an additional amount of Rs 4 crore to the foundation.
In an affidavit, the Kochi Biennale Foundation stated that it had many financial obligations, including bearing expenses for the shipment of foreign installations back to its source country, payment for vendors and other creditors, payment for artists who participated and set up installations during the event.
It also spent money for marketing the event, renovation of Durbar hall, travel and accommodation for the delegates.
Forty-four regular staff, 117 volunteers, 21 interns and four security personnel were part of the fest.
If additional financial assistance is not provided, the foundation will have to face tremendous loss, the foundation stated.
The Kochi Biennale Foundation also submitted that the state had dropped the vigilance probe ordered into the alleged irregularities in the affairs of the foundation. The Finance Department had ordered a Vigilance probe into the allotment of fund.
Later, a committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Cultural Affairs, assessed the expenditure and suggested to drop the probe.
When the case came up for hearing, counsel for the petitioner N Nandakumara Menon submitted that the affidavit does not contain the details of income and expenditure as directed by the court.
The court observed that despite giving the foundation more than a month’s time, it could not file the details of expenditure, payment and other aspects realted to the issue.
The court also directed the Kochi Biennale Foundation to file an affidavit stating the income and expenditure for the first edition of the fest.