THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress has decided to intensify its attack on the LDF government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the e-mobility project which involves the purchase of 3,000 electric buses to be manufactured under a joint venture between Kerala Automobiles Ltd and Switzerland-based bus manufacturers HESS AG for Rs 4,500-Rs 6,000 crore.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on Thursday alleged that the finance department has given sanction to open an office of project consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers at the Secretariat. While former CM Oommen Chandy said there is mystery behind the haste shown by Pinarayi in implementing the e-mobility project when the finance department had opposed it, UDF convener Benny Behanan, MP, said a PwC director and IT company Exalogic Solutions of the CM’s daughter have links.
At a third press meet called in five days, Chennithala said the MoU was signed between the state government and HESS AG on June 29 last year and it is on the company’s website. He claimed that the PwC employees have been promised monthly salaries of up to `3 lakh by the government, which is more than the chief secretary’s salary. Chennithala also released a copy of the photograph of the MoU signing, in which HESS AG CEO Alex Nadef, cantonal councillor Susan von Sury and principal secretary (transport) K R Jyothilal appear. “If the transport minister signs the file, the e-mobility project will be implemented. It will not be surprising if the state government decides to have the logo of PwC on the national flag hoisted on top of the Secretariat,” he said.
He demanded to know whether the former chief secretary had signed on the e-mobility file. The consultancy was given to PwC to prepare the detailed project report without the sanction of the cabinet and not following the required procedures. These show there is corruption, he added. In a statement, Oommen Chandy said the mystery behind the project should be cleared as the transport minister had said he was unaware of it and when the then chief secretary and additional chief secretary (finance) had objected to the decision.
In Ernakulam, Benny Behanan said, “Jaik Balakumar, one of the directors of PwC, is closely associated with Exalogic Solutions of Pinarayi’s daughter. Her company website mentions that Jaik is acting as a mentor and guide, which shows his crucial role. All these reveal how PwC walked away with the contract.”