By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], September 27 (ANI): The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to take appropriate action in connection with the alleged irregularities in Airports Authority of India (AAI) leasing out six of its airports to private players.
A letter by CVC accessed by ANI shows the Commission ordered an inquiry in connection with this.
"I am directed to acknowledge your complaint dated September 4, 2020 regarding gross financial irregularities in the leasing out of six airports of Airport Authority of India. The complaint along with its enclosures are forwarded to CVO, Ministry of Civil Aviation for necessary action," stated the letter by Additional Secretary, CVC, in response to a letter written by Rajya Sabha MP and CPI(M) Elamaram Kareem.
Kareem had raised the issue with the CVC, claiming, "Gross financial irregularities in the leasing out of six airports of Airports Authority of India."
"It is evident from the relevant records that there was gross negligence on the part of Airports Authority of India and Ministry of Civil Aviation while preparing PPPAC memo and other related records, paving way to the private player to earn windfall profit from the vast assets and business of AAI spreading across six States. It is prima facie evident that neither AAI nor the Ministry of Civil Aviation exercised any reasonable care and prudence, which it usually follows, while placing even comparatively low-value tenders," the letter by Kareem read.
"Most of the vital financial parameters in the bid document including the total project cost, minimum bid value, etc were kept open, giving free hand to the private player to shape the contract in their fashion. The financial irregularities are so grave that the matter needs to be investigated by the highest investigating agencies," he further said in the letter.
The Union Cabinet had recently approved the proposal to lease out Thiruvananthapuram and two other airports through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for "operation, management and development" to a private player, which was declared as the successful bidder in global competitive bidding conducted by the AAI, for a period of 50 years.
Earlier, the government had already declared the privatisation of three more airports Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Mangalore. (ANI)
By Ashoke Raj