Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala had alleged corruption in the state government’s e-mobility project contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on PwC
news Controversy Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 07:57

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday defended the government’s contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the London-based multinational, to prepare the Detailed Project Report of the government's e-mobility project. His statement was in response to Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, who had alleged corruption in the project. The Chief Minister said that due protocol had been followed and that the company had been empaneled by the central government. 

“PwC was empaneled by the National Informatics Services Center Incorporated (NICSI). According to an order in August 2019, the government has appointed three companies empaneled by the NICSI for business portals, logistics portals and e-mobility services. PwC is a company that does consultancy services for the Union Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry,” the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister said that there was nothing unusual in the deal and that the decision had been taken after clearance by the Transport, Finance and Planning Departments.

“We will not step back from the project over baseless allegations,” said Pinarayi Vijayan, adding that the state government will go ahead with the e-mobility project. By 2021, 10 lakh electric vehicles would be launched, he said. 

On Sunday, at a press meet, Chennithala alleged corruption in the Rs 4,500-crore e-mobility project by the state government. He claimed that the company had been banned in the country for two years by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The audit ban of PwC, however, had been overturned by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in September last year. 

“Pinarayi Vijayan has no right to give the contract when the state cabinet has no clue. (We) wish to know if the State Transport Minister knew of this. Moreover, this was given after questions were raised by former Law Commission Chairman AP Shah, on why the Chief Minister was handing over fresh contracts to PwC. Pinarayi Vijayan has to answer these,” Chennithala had said.

The Citizens' Whistleblowers Forum, led by Justice AP Shah, has written to the Kerala Chief Minister to award any contacts to PwC, the Congress leader said, adding that there are nine cases against the company.

Meanwhile, 121 new COVID-19 cases were reported from the state. 78 patients are returnees from abroad, 26 came from other states and five contracted the disease through contact. 79 patients have recovered.

Currently, 2,057 patients are under treatment in Kerala. 2,662 are currently under hospital quarantine.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.