The Kerala Assembly on Monday passed a resolution against the leasing of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Adani Enterprises. This as the Congress-led opposition accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of running with the hare and hunting with the hound.
The state government had on Friday approached the High Court to stay the Centre’s move to lease out the international airport.
It was last week that the Centre decided to lease out the Thiruvananthapuram airport under the PPP model for 50 years to Adani Enterprises. Both the state government and the state opposition vehemently opposed the move.
Based on the initial reactions, Vijayan called an all-party meeting. Barring the BJP, all others opposed this and the Chief Minister wrote two letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to hand the airport to the state government-backed company that had bid for it, but lost out to Adani Enterprises.
On Monday in the Assembly, Vijayan moved a resolution to this effect. Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, in his speech targeted the state government for what he alleged was a dubious deal between his government and Mumbai-based law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, who were the legal consultants of the Kerala government company KSIDC, which bid for the Thiruvananthapuram airport.
One of the partners of this firm is the father-in-law of Gautum Adani’s son Karan Adani.
“Vijayan government says one thing and does exactly the opposite. They cheated the people of Kerala by engaging this law firm, which had a role with Nirav Modi (diamond dealer). This law firm’s relation with Adani is also now out in the open. Even though we will support the resolution moved by the Chief Minister, he should not have cheated the people of Kerala,” said Chennithala.
An angry Vijayan shot back and said it was most unfortunate the way the opposition spoke about this.
“They (opposition) are trying to create a smokescreen and unlike them, whatever we do is like an open book and the people of Kerala know it too. The opposition thinks we are also like them and engage in undesirable things, but we don’t do any such things. This law firm only did the legal vetting and they never ever had any role in quoting the figure,” said an angry Vijayan.
In February 2019, the financial bid for privatising five airports in the country was opened and it was won by Adani Enterprises.
The Kerala government through one of its companies too placed a bid, but the Adani firm won it by quoting a bigger amount. While the Kerala government bid for Rs 135 per passenger, the Adani firm quoted Rs 168.