Friday, August 18, 2017

MMRDA DELAYS IN RECOVERING RS 1,527 CR FROM RIL

PAC PULLS UP MMRDA FOR DELAYS IN RECOVERING RS 1,527 CR FROM RIL

PAC pulls up MMRDA for delays in recovering Rs 1,527 cr from RIL
Committee accuses MMRDA of `undue leniency' and `favouritism' in dealing with the company

Accusing the Mumbai Met ropolitan Region Develop ment Authority (MMRDA) of “showing undue leniency“ towards the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state legislature has rapped it for the delay in recovering Rs1,527 crore from the company. The MMRDA had asked the RIL to pay the “additional premium“ for not completing construction work on the two plots allotted to it at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in 2007.

The PAC has directed the MMRDA to immediately initiate the process of recovering its dues and inform it within two months what action it has taken on the matter.

The PAC's report was tabled in both Houses of the state legislature on Friday.

It also questioned the rationale behind handing over the matter to a judicial committee.

“There was no need to form a committee under a retired judge of the Supreme Court to decide upon the issue of additional premium which was to be recovered from Reliance Industries. After a decision to appoint such a committee was taken, there was an inordinate delay in constituting the committee,“ the PAC report observed.

The PAC also pointed out that the law, rules and policies in this regard are self-explanatory.

When the MMRDA has recovered additional premium from other companies in similar cases, why it decided to form a committee in the case of Reliance, it asked. The committee also wanted to know what were the factors that “arose suddenly“ only in Reliance's case for which a decision could not be made at the MMRDA, state government or advocate general's level.

“This seems to be a clear case of favouritism,“ it said, adding that the MMRDA has applied different yardsticks when it comes to Reliance vis-├ávis other companies. It shows clearly shows their intention of dilly-dallying on the issue,“ the PAC alleged.

The MMRDA allotted Reliance Industries two plots in G block of the Bandra Kurla Complex in 2007 -one for a convention centre and another for corporate office. However, due to a court stay order, the RIL could not start any developmental activities till 2012. After the court stay was lifted, the RIL was expected to complete its work within four years but it has failed to do so. The PAC observed that in similar cases, the MMRDA has recovered the additional premium to the tune of Rs1,200 crore from other allotees which include government entities such as CBI, Income Tax, Maritime Board, government-owned companies such as Bank of India, Canara Bank, IDBI Bank and private companies like Sterlite Systems, Jet Airways and Tata Communications Ltd.

When contacted, MMRDA spokesman Dilip Kawathkar said, “We have not received the report of PAC yet, so we will not able to comment on it. However, once the report is received, it will be placed before the authority's board and an appropriate action will be taken.“

Mirror made five telephone calls, sent text messages twice and also sent an e-mail to RIL's spokesman. Initially, Mirror was told that the RIL would respond to the queries, but by evening, the company chose not to respond.