Airport scam: CBI searches at GVK group

 

The CBI has carried out searches at the offices of the GVK group in Mumbai and Hyderabad after registering a case against its chairman, Venkata Krishna Reddy Gunupati, in connection with alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 705 crore in the running of the Mumbai airport, officials said.

The agency operation was conducted on Wednesday and continued till late in the evening, they added.

The case pertains to the alleged siphoning off of Rs 705 crore from the funds of the Mumbai International Airport Limited, a joint venture under public-private partnership between the GVK Airport Holdings Limited and the Airports Authority of India besides other investors, by showing inflated expenditure, under-reporting of revenue and fudging of records.

On April 4, 2006, the AAI entered into an agreement with MIAL for the modernisation, upkeep, operation and maintenance of the Mumbai airport.

It is alleged that the promoters of the GVK group in MIAL, in connivance with their executives and unidentified AAI officials, funnelled out funds by showing execution of bogus work contracts to nine companies in 2017-18 -- a loss of Rs 310 crore.

The promoters allegedly misused the reserve funds of MIAL to the tune of Rs 395 crore to finance their group companies, the CBI has further alleged.

Another modus operandi was that the group inflated expenditure figures of MIAL by showing payments to employees at their headquarters and group companies, who were not involved in the running of MIAL, causing a revenue loss to AAI.

In the complaint, the inflated expenditure figures are pegged at Rs 100 crore, which may take the total sum involved in the alleged scam to Rs 805 crore, but this has not been included in the FIR by the CBI.

A spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Ltd, while commenting on the CBI case, said, “MIAL is surprised to note the registration of case by the CBI against MIAL and others. MIAL would have provided every assistance had the agency sought an explanation or any document, even if a preliminary enquiry had been initiated. MIAL is a transparent and responsible corporate entity which is committed to co-operate with the agency in its investigation to arrive at the truth.”

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