Cong releases 'photos' of Fisheries Minister with EMCC officials

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Thiruvananthapuram,Feb 20 (PTI) Opposition Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Saturday released purportedphotos of Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma holding discussions with representativesof a US-based firm hereon a deep sea fishing project, against the agreement of which he had leveled corruption charges.

Besides the minister, the company representatives and the fisheries department officials could also be seen in the purported photos, released by the leader in a press meet here.

He also released what he termed was 'documentary evidence' -- a purported concept note submitted by the company to the Fisheries Department and the letter sent by the Fisheries Principal Secretary to the EMCC president on the controversial project.

The photos were made public a day after the Left government had rejected asbaseless his corruptionchargein an agreement inked by the state-owned Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) with the US-based EMCC International for the deep sea fishing project.

The Congress leader hadalleged corruption involving Rs 5,000 crore in the agreement with the firm and the company had been allowed deep sea fishing.

He had also saidthe agreement wouldaffect the interest of fishermen community in Kerala.

However, rubbishing the charges, Mercykutty Amma had said the allegations had no merit and Chennithala was speaking of an imaginary agreement.

'It has now become proved that whatever the minister had said were blatant lies.

The company officials have already confirmed to the media that they had held discussion with her at New York also in this regard.

The photos of that meeting are also expected to be available soon,' Chennithala said here on Saturday.

the Congress leader said there was more ample evidence to confirm that Mercykutty Amma had held discussions with the US-based firm and Industries Minister E P Jayarajan was well aware about the project and added that the Left government had shown keen interest to take it forward.

Alleging that it was a vicious attempt to cheat the fishermen community, Chennithala also said if the opposition had not found this now, the entire marine wealth of Kerala would have been plundered in two or three years.

He also asked how Chief Minister could not know about such a mammoth project when the KSINC, under his direct control, had signed an MoU with a US-based firm.

However, the Fisheries Minister continued to reject the opposition charge for the second day also.

Though she confirmed that the EMCC International officials had met her here, she said she did not remember what they had discussed about the project.

She had said on Friday that no agreement was signed by the government to allow fishing by the US firm.

The Minister also said that only the Centre can permit deep sea fishing by a foreign company and the state government will not take any steps affecting the fishermen community. PTI LGKAPR ADMINISTRATOR PTI LGKAPR ADMINISTRATOR