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Kerala high court adjourns hearing on the petition demanding CBI probe into the Adani Port deal at Vizhinjam

The Kerala High Court posted the hearing of the petition seeking a CBI probe into the awarding of the Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd project to the Adani Group after eight weeks. 

A Division Bench of the court, headed by Acting Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy, issued the order on the petition filed by M K Salim of Kollam. The court noted that a Commission headed by Justice C N Ramachandran Nair, along with two other members, is examining all the aspects of the project. 

The Commission is expected to file final report by July. “The court deems it appropriate to adjourn this case for eight weeks to await the report of the Commission,” the Division Bench said.

According to the petitioner, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that state’s interests were not protected when the deal was signed. The CAG has reported that the agreement between the Kerala Government and the Adani Group on the Vizhinjam Harbour seaport is one-sided and the interest of the state has not been taken care off. 

The CAG report also stated though the standard concession period is only 30 years, and extendable by another 20 years, the current deal mentioned the standard concession period as 40 years. This stipulation would allow Adani Group to collect another Rs 29,217 crore and a total of more than Rs 60,000 crore if it was extended by another 20 years, it stated.

The petitioner submitted the CAG report also listed various unfavourable conditions in the concession agreement of the project which went against the state’s interests and to the advantage of Adani Group. He submitted then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and then Ports Minister K Babu were responsible for the alleged loss to the exchequer and for not protecting the state’s interest. The petitioner also sought a directive for taking effective steps to protect the state’s interest by making necessary modifications in the agreement.

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