27 July 2017 last updated at 12:17 GMT
 
KCA hires sea food exporter to build stadium
Friday 14 July 2017

In its latest status report filed before the Supreme Court, the Committee of Administrators (COA) has apprised the Court of the need to investigate instances of malfeasance in certain state cricket associations mentioned in reports of internal audit firms engaged by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The COA is concerned that these audits may not have gone deep enough, in the limited time available, to expose the actual rot.
In this second part of DNA’s investigation into Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), here’s a look at how public money, meant to promote cricket in the state, was wasted on bogus projects.
Infrastructure Venture Consortium (IVC), which was given the contract to construct the Edakochi stadium by Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), apparently had no experience in building a stadium.
DNA is in possession of a letter expressing interest by IVC, dated March 3, 2009, stating “the company (IVC) has been created only for the purpose of taking up the KCA project and it doesn’t have previous experience in building any stadium”.
The chairman of finance committee, Karthik Verma, also stated at the Special General Meeting (SGM) on March 15, 2009 that primary inquiry conducted by the stadium committee revealed that IVC was initially a sea food exporter.
He added that at that time, IVC had six projects but the committee did not have any idea whether any of those projects had anything to do with construction of stadiums.
Despite this, KCA signed an MoU with IVC on March 22, 2009.
It stated: “IVC has the expertise and experience in the field of property development, construction, marketing and the financial capability to finance this project”.
Within a week, the sea food exporter had mutated into a construction firm.
The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau’s Quick Verification Report (QVR, No. 08/2011/EKM, dated 31.12.2012) recommended registration of vigilance case against the then KCA president TC Mathew, other stadium committee members, the land owners and IVC since the verification “revealed that there is misuse of official position and money by public servants”.
The report states that KCA secretary Mathew entered into an MoU with the land owner to procure 23.95 acres at Rs. 1.10 crore/acre when an earlier MoU between IVC and the seller, which fixed the price at Rs 1 crore/acre, was still in force. The QVR evaluated the maximum prevailing market price for the land to be Rs 50 lakh/acre.
One of the sale agreements, which are part of the MoU, also states (page 4, clause 13) that “the vendor assures the purchaser that no lease or other rights are subsisting for fishing or other agricultural operations over the said property”, leaving no doubt as to the nature of the land that was being bought to construct an international stadium.
In a letter (dated 06/10/2010) to Ernakulam District Collector, the secretary to Kerala government denied permission for conversion of land for construction of stadium.
The then Union Minister for Environment & Forests, Jairam Ramesh, hammered home the final nail on the Edakochi Stadium coffin on June 13, 2011, accusing KCA of “not playing with a straight bat” and pointing to serious violations of CRZ rules while denying permission for the project.
The current KCA secretary Jayesh George insists that the Edakochi land was registered “after getting all state government approvals”, but the records state otherwise. Moreover, environmental clearances come under the purview of the Central Ministry.
Design of notional stadium
KCA paid nearly Rs 86 lakh as advance for design of the stadium to M/s Hopkins, an architectural firm in England, “in anticipation of environmental clearance from Government of India”, according to the KCA Audit Report for 2010-11.
This led the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Mathew in 2015 in connection with the alleged irregularities in transferring money to the London-based consultant.
All vigilance investigations against KCA including the one in the Edakochi issue with FIR VC 4/2013, came to a halt on July 15, 2015 with a verdict from the Kerala High Court. A single bench, overruling an earlier HC single bench order, ruled that these cricket administrators cannot be treated as discharging public duty.
This, after KCA obtained 75 per cent stamp duty exemption for the Edakochi land in 2010 claiming that construction of the stadium was a public act.
The complainants and the VACB have appealed to a Division bench.

In its latest status report filed before the Supreme Court, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has apprised the Court of the need to investigate instances of malfeasance in certain state cricket associations mentioned in reports of internal audit firms engaged by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The COA is concerned that these audits may not have gone deep enough, in the limited time available, to expose the actual rot.

In this second part of DNA’s investigation into Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), here’s a look at how public money, meant to promote cricket in the state, was wasted on bogus projects.

Infrastructure Venture Consortium (IVC), which was given the contract to construct the Edakochi stadium by Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), apparently had no experience in building a stadium.

DNA is in possession of a letter expressing interest by IVC, dated March 3, 2009, stating “the company (IVC) has been created only for the purpose of taking up the KCA project and it doesn’t have previous experience in building any stadium”.

The chairman of finance committee, Karthik Verma, also stated at the Special General Meeting (SGM) on March 15, 2009 that primary inquiry conducted by the stadium committee revealed that IVC was initially a sea food exporter.

He added that at that time, IVC had six projects but the committee did not have any idea whether any of those projects had anything to do with construction of stadiums.

Despite this, KCA signed an MoU with IVC on March 22, 2009.

It stated: “IVC has the expertise and experience in the field of property development, construction, marketing and the financial capability to finance this project”.

Within a week, the sea food exporter had mutated into a construction firm.

The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau’s Quick Verification Report (QVR, No. 08/2011/EKM, dated 31.12.2012) recommended registration of vigilance case against the then KCA president TC Mathew, other stadium committee members, the land owners and IVC since the verification “revealed that there is misuse of official position and money by public servants”.

The report states that KCA secretary Mathew entered into an MoU with the land owner to procure 23.95 acres at Rs. 1.10 crore/acre when an earlier MoU between IVC and the seller, which fixed the price at Rs 1 crore/acre, was still in force. The QVR evaluated the maximum prevailing market price for the land to be Rs 50 lakh/acre.

One of the sale agreements, which are part of the MoU, also states (page 4, clause 13) that “the vendor assures the purchaser that no lease or other rights are subsisting for fishing or other agricultural operations over the said property”, leaving no doubt as to the nature of the land that was being bought to construct an international stadium.

In a letter (dated 06/10/2010) to Ernakulam District Collector, the secretary to Kerala government denied permission for conversion of land for construction of stadium.

The then Union Minister for Environment & Forests, Jairam Ramesh, hammered home the final nail on the Edakochi Stadium coffin on June 13, 2011, accusing KCA of “not playing with a straight bat” and pointing to serious violations of CRZ rules while denying permission for the project.

The current KCA secretary Jayesh George insists that the Edakochi land was registered “after getting all state government approvals”, but the records state otherwise. Moreover, environmental clearances come under the purview of the Central Ministry.

Design of notional stadiumKCA paid nearly Rs 86 lakh as advance for design of the stadium to M/s Hopkins, an architectural firm in England, “in anticipation of environmental clearance from Government of India”, according to the KCA Audit Report for 2010-11.

This led the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Mathew in 2015 in connection with the alleged irregularities in transferring money to the London-based consultant.

All vigilance investigations against KCA including the one in the Edakochi issue with FIR VC 4/2013, came to a halt on July 15, 2015 with a verdict from the Kerala High Court. A single bench, overruling an earlier HC single bench order, ruled that these cricket administrators cannot be treated as discharging public duty. This, after KCA obtained 75 per cent stamp duty exemption for the Edakochi land in 2010 claiming that construction of the stadium was a public act.

The complainants and the VACB have appealed to a Division bench.

(Courtesy: Daily News and Analysis)

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