MIN­ISTRY RE­BUTS CAG ON AIR

Min­istry of Civil Avi­a­tion asks CAG Vinod Rai for op­por­tu­nity to clar­ify le­gal­i­ties of deal with its pri­vate part­ner DIAL

India Today - - NA TION - By Bhavna Vij- Aurora

The Min­istry of Civil Avi­a­tion ( MCA) has writ­ten to the Comp­trol­ler and Au­di­tor Gen­eral ( CAG) of In­dia Vinod Rai, say­ing it is in­cor­rect to say that un­due ben­e­fits were ac­corded to the pri­vate part­ner Delhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port Lim­ited ( DIAL), in the Delhi Air­port mod­erni­sa­tion project.

Re­fer­ring to CAG’S draft per­for­mance au­dit re­port on “Im­ple­men­ta­tion of Pub­lic- Pri­vate Part­ner­ship projects: Delhi Air­port— A case study”, Nasim Zaidi, who re­tired as civil avi­a­tion sec­re­tary on July 31, wrote to Rai on June 26 that the min­istry should be given an op­por­tu­nity to clar­ify its po­si­tion with all records, to pre­vent in­ac­cu­ra­cies creep­ing into the fi­nal re­port. Zaidi said MCA had for­warded its com­ments on the draft au­dit re­port on March 12. This was fol­lowed by an exit meet­ing on March 16, where it was agreed that MCA of­fi­cials would have a sec­ond round of dis­cus­sions with the au­di­tors be­fore fi­nal­is­ing the re­port.

“How­ever, this has not been cap­tured clearly in the min­utes, and this process has not been car­ried out,” he wrote. The exit meet­ing was at­tended by Zaidi, other min­istry of­fi­cials, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Air­ports Author­ity of In­dia ( AAI), Air­port Eco­nomic Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity ( AERA) and DIAL. Ac­cord­ing to Zaidi, the AERA chair­man, Yash­want S. Bhave, had clar­i­fied many points where he had felt the un­der­stand­ing of the au­dit was not cor­rect.

Zaidi stated that some of the is­sues men­tioned in the draft re­port have been re­solved, which in­clude “Con­ces­sion Pe­riod, Right to First Re­fusal, Up­front Fee, the ba­sis of fix­ing Rs 6.19 crore for ad­di­tional 190 acres of land al­lot­ted by AAI, levy of De­vel­op­ment Fee, cat­e­gori­sa­tion of aero­nau­ti­cal and non- aero­nau­ti­cal ser­vices, and the Till sys­tem”.

While Zaidi al­leged that some of the points dis­cussed in the exit meet­ing were not part of the min­utes, he said there were sev­eral as­pects that found their way into the min­utes, which were nei­ther dis­cussed nor in­cluded in the draft re­port. He wanted

TERMS AND CON­DI­TIONS IN THE BID DOC­U­MENT WERE RE­VIEWED BYAN EM­POW­ERED GROUP OF MIN­IS­TERS AND AP­PROVED BYCABINET.

these to be ad­dressed by CAG, with MCA given a chance to clar­ify its stand on cer­tain is­sues, in­clud­ing com­mer­cial ex­ploita­tion of land.

Zaidi said that the is­sue of leas­ing of an ad­di­tional 190.19 acres of com­mer­cial land, that was val­ued at Rs 1,29,639.21 crore, to DIAL by AAI, was raised by the au­dit team and clar­i­fied by MCA. The min­istry claimed that the ad­di­tional land was only meant for op­er­a­tions of aero­nau­ti­cal ser­vices and had no com­mer­cial value, and sug­gested that CAG drop this point, to which the au­dit team seemed to have agreed.

How­ever, the min­utes of the exit meet­ing men­tioned the fig­ure of Rs 1.63 lakh crore, which would ac­crue to DIAL as lease rentals over a pe­riod of 58 years from 240 acre of land meant for com­mer­cial ex­ploita­tion. This was never dis­cussed in the exit meet­ing, and the min­istry was not given a chance to ex­plain its stand.

MCA said the fig­ure of Rs 1.63 lakh crore was grossly mis­lead­ing. “It is

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