Congress objects to opening PricewaterhouseCoopers office in Kerala Secretariat

Chennithala had earlier alleged that PricewaterhouseCoopers was hired by the state government to provide a report favouring hiring of Swiss firm Hess AG.
Ramesh Chennithala
Ramesh Chennithala
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The Congress-led opposition in Kerala on Thursday slammed the Pinarayi Vijayan government for going ahead with opening the office of PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd inside the state Secretariat.

Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media that the file for this would have been signed by state Transport Minister AK Saseendran, had the opposition remained silent.

Earlier Chennithala had alleged that the state government had hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the London-based multinational, to provide a report that would favour the hiring of Hess AG, a Swiss company as the manufactures of e-mobility projects. 

"This file has been raised by the state Transport Secretary and has been given the nod by the Finance Department and it (the PwC office) will become a reality when Saseendran signs the file. Such a thing has never happened in the history of Kerala...," he said.

"The highlight of this office it has been aptly named as 'PwC back door office' and for this, I will appreciate the person who has named it as this entry by this company is through the back door," he claimed.

Chennithala also claimed that four staffers for the office have also been appointed and their salary is higher than the salary of the Chief Secretary, as it ranges from Rs 3,02,400 to Rs 3,34,800.

Chennithala said Chief Minister Vijayan is heading a government which is flooded by consultants and refuted his statement that no agreement has been reached on implementing the e-bus project with Swiss vehicle manufacturing major Hess AG for manufacture of 6,000 e-buses as part of a joint venture with the Kerala Automobiles Ltd.

"If so, then I am releasing a picture which says that the agreement has been inked and in the caption, it is written that this was the signing of the agreement with the Swiss company. This is also mentioned in their website. We wish to know who is right, is it Vijayan or the Swiss company," he said.

Two-time Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also joined in this issue, saying that it was surprising that when the then Chief Secretary and Finance Minister Thomas Issac opposed this project, why was Vijayan in a hurry to go forward with this.

"When the discussions in this project was going, these two people opposed this project and it was after that, Vijayan handed over the consultancy contract to PwC for this project. It is time Vijayan comes clean on this deal," he demanded.

UDF convenor Benny Behanan said that the alleged role of Chief Minister's daughter Veena's IT firm in this deal has to be explained by the government.

(With inputs from IANS)

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