KOCHI: The Congress has reiterated its allegations about the LDF government’s fundraising through KIIFB Masala Bonds, on Sunday, saying there are enough indications to prove a direct link between Canadian pension fund CDPQ and scam-tainted SNC-Lavalin.
V D Satheeshan MLA told reporters that the mystery behind the Masala Bonds has deepened thanks to the conflicting statements being made by the Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.“In a reply to a question raised by the Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala other days, the Finance Minister had said there was no link between CDPQ, which bought a majority of the Masala Bonds, and SNC-Lavalin. But the CEO of KIIFB had said CDPQ does have a connection with Lavalin,” he said.
Canadian company SNC-Lavalin was involved in a hydroelectric scandal in Kerala in 1995 where several politicians including then Electricity Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s name figured prominently. “Following the statement made by the KIIFB CEO, the Finance Minister in his Facebook post stated there is a small connection between the two companies. This shows the duplicity of the government,” said Satheeshan. He questioned the need to take a loan from CDPQ and that too at a higher interest rate.
“They are taking a loan at a rate of 9.75 per cent while the same is available with the RBI for interest between 6.25 per cent and 8.25 per cent. This move will further tax the already depleted treasury,” he said. The conflicting statements and the silence maintained by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan don’t make matters clear, he added. According to him, the UDF government too had taken a loan from a foreign company to fund the construction of Kochi Metro. “But the rate of interest was 1.31 per cent and that too for a period of 25 years. We never planned to burden the exchequer,” he said.