The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, headed by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi will begin consideration of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on the implementation of public-private partnership in the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) next week.

The Civil Aviation Ministry will appear before the panel with its defence next Thursday.

Sources in the panel said the CAG would also make a presentation in the meeting, as the Government and the private developer have questioned the auditor’s findings. The panel is likely to probe the issue in detail, as there are differences between the CAG and the Government. The Congress, it is learnt, is in two minds on the issue.

A section in the party believes that there is “merit” in the CAG report and a CBI probe would clear the apprehensions. Though the party was ready, no Opposition party, except the CPI(M), demanded a probe into the issue.

The Rajya Sabha’s committee on subordinate legislation is already studying the Airports Authority of India (Major Airports) Development Fees Rules, 2011, which empowered DIAL’s operator to levy the development fee from passengers.

The CAG had said in its report that the Civil Aviation Ministry violated the bid conditions for the benefit of GMR-led DIAL of over Rs 3,415 crore. The CAG had recommended fixing responsibility on the matter.

The report said that DIAL could earn Rs 1,63,557 crore over a 60-year period from the land given to it on a lease of Rs 100 annually.

It also criticised the Government’s decision to allow DIAL’s operator to levy a development fee. The CAG said it vitiated the sanctity of the bidding process and led to undue benefit of Rs 3,415.35 crore to the private firm.

“It was noticed that the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India, on some occasions, violated the provisions of the transaction documents in the interest of the concessionaire,” the report said.

“In fact, only 19 per cent of the project cost came from equity, approximately 42 per cent came from debt. The remaining project costs were met from security deposits and development fees,” the report added.

(This article was published on September 27, 2012)
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