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Ommen Chandy government gets a pat from the probe commission in Adani port deal

The Judicial Commission inquiring into irregularities in the deal signed between the previous UDF Government and the Adani Group over developing the Vizhinjam port observed it could not find any vesated interest in executing the deal.

The Commission - headed by Justice C N Ramachandran Nair was constituted by the LDF government following severe strictures passed on the Ommen Chandy government on the execution of the Port deal with the Adani group. The commission started the hearing with the deposition from former Ports Principal Secretary James Varghese in Kochi on April `17th.

The Commission observed the deal was executed following studies carried out by three expert agencies and was evaluated by the Empowered Committee. The state Cabinet later took the decision to execute the Vizhinjam port project. The decision lacks any personal interest, the Commission observed in its initial remark..

However, the Commission maintained a pessimistic stand over the Adani Group enjoying the right to mortgage the government-acquired land for the Vizhinjam project. According to the Commission, the government will have to bow before the lenders to whom the land will be pledged. This will lead the government to court. The Commission pointed out the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report claiming user fees for fishermen accessing the fishing harbour close to the port is against facts.

 Former Port Principal Secretary James Varghese said the agreement for the Vizhinjam deal was made on the basis of conditions laid down by the Central Planning Board. He provided explanations on 28 findings given in the CAG report. The Commission, set to hear from the Adani Group on Tuesday, has also decided to visit the site for the port.

Meanwhile, the government failed to give an explanation on its stand over the Vizhinjam deal before the Commission again. The Commission asked the government to provide clarity on the aspects in the deal that have to be included in its probe.


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