Congress demands judicial probe into EMCC deal

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 23 (PTI)Opposition Congress on Tuesday demanded a judicial probe into alleged deep sea fishing contract between the Kerala government and a US firm, a day after authorities decided to cancel a controversial MoU signed between the company and a state-owned corporation.

The party rejected as 'inadequate' the government's reported directive for an internal probe under the aegis of additional secretary T K Jose into the pact between EMCC International and Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation Alleging a conspiracy involving Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his two cabinet colleagues over the project, Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala claimed the probe would not be adequate to bring out the truth.

'The bureaucratic inquiry that has just been announced is not at all adequate. A judicial probe should be carried out to bring out the truth completely,' he told a press meet here.

Not just the MoU between EMCC and the KSINC, but the Rs 5000 crore worth main project agreement with the company should also be cancelled at the earliest and the four acre land allotted to them at Pallippuarm should take back, he said.

The senior Congress leader said there were indications that the EMCC was not the only company behind the deal.

'But, some major monopolies are also there behind the screen. It is doubtful whether some online food distribution companies are also involved in it,' Chennithala said.

He also said the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) would extend support to the 'coastal hartal', announced by various unions and outfits on February 27 as a mark of protest against the alleged deep sea fishing contract.

The front would also take out a march through the coastal areas explaining the fishermen community about the issue, he added.

Vijayan on Monday directed the officials concerned to cancel the EMCC-KSINC deal and probe the circumstances under which such an MoU was signed.

The step was taken reportedly to avoid further controversies, with the opposition levelling fresh charges and bringing out what they term as 'evidence' almost every day.

EMCC International India Private Limited president Shiju Varghese came out against the cancellation of the agreement, asking on what basis it was done. PTI LGK VS VS