Congress demands CAG audit into KIIFB, Kannur airport; Ramesh Chennithala meets Governor
Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress party in Kerala has approached the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan seeking his intervention to ensure that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India's audit takes place in two state-run organisations.
Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said that he has briefed Governor Khan about the way the present CPM led Left government under Pinarayi Vijayan is keeping things under wraps regarding issues in the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and the Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL).
"CAG is a constitutional body and it is duty bound to audit all those bodies where the state owns more than 51 per cent stake. But the Pinarayi Vijayan government has not adhered to it and have kept both KIIFB and KIAL away from CAG audit since they came to power in 2016," Ramesh Chennithala said.
"It has now come to light that the CPM treats these two organisations as their milch cow and lot of irregularities have surfaced in these organisations and hence Pinarayi Vijayan is not interested in CAG audit," he said.
Addressing the media on Monday, Pinarayi Vijayan had pointed out that KIAL is a body similar to the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) and there is no CAG audit there.
"Either Pinarayi Vijayan is ignorant or he is trying to create a smokescreen about things at KIIFB and KIAL. When we demitted office in 2016, both these organisations were subjected to the CAG audits. At KIAL the state and government undertakings have 64 per cent stake while at the CIAL, the government stake is only 32.41 per cent," Ramesh Chennithala said.
"A few irregularities were noted in the CAG audit of KIAL during the period 2015-16, where it was found out that Pinarayi Vijayan and his party got help from KIAL and maybe now, with them more than three years in office, they would have lots to hide and, hence, are objecting to CAG audit," he added.
Ramesh Chennithala also distributed copies of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs records which show that KIAL is state government company, while CIAL is a non-government company.
Even though KIIFB came into existence in 1999 under the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Act 1999 to manage the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund, it was only after Pinarayi Vijayan assumed office in May 2016, that a comprehensive modification of the Act was made through an amendment Ordinance in August 2016 to widen its scope, and it has started raising money from the open market to fund infrastructure needs.
"By now allegations have surfaced about the way things have been managed by KIIFB, and hence it's least surprising that Pinarayi Vijayan does not want an audit. We will now wait to see what action the Governor takes, and we will then chart our next course of action," said Ramesh Chennithala.