Kerala opposition seeks judicial probe into Smart City deal


Kozhikode (Kerala) : Kerala's opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) Friday demanded that the state government order a judicial probe into the agreement of the Rs.15 billion ($350 million) Smart City project as changes were allegedly made to the conditions after the Cabinet approved the deal.

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"We at our meeting today have decided to ask the government to order a judicial probe into the agreements of the Smart City. There is some foul play and a sitting judge of the high court should be appointed to look into the matter," UDF convenor P.P. Thankachan told reporters here.

The agreement between the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) government and the Dubai Internet City (DIC) was inked here May 13.

Since then leader of Opposition and former chief minister Oommen Chandy has been saying that the conditions of the project that he had put up was better than that what was signed by the present government.

Chandy had contested Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's statement that there were no freebies to DIC and said the valuation of the cost of land made by Achuthanandan was a smart move.

"When we had decided to give 100 acres of land to DIC, Achuthanandan then said it was valued at Rs.3.5 billion. They (CPI-M) have now given concession worth Rs.2.65 billion to DIC," said Chandy.

Chandy said that the judicial probe is meant to find out who played truant and why changes were made to the agreements after the cabinet cleared the final agreement.

The agreement with DIC inked by Achuthanandan does not include transfer of the Infopark campus at Kochi, which had been agreed upon by Chandy.

While the former chief minister had agreed to sell 236 acres of land at a cost of Rs.460 million (Rs.46 crore) and given DIC full ownership, Achuthanandan made DIC agree to 246 acres of land at a cost of Rs.1.06 billion (Rs.106 crore), which would be given on lease for 99 years.

Chandy had agreed to 33,000 new jobs being created by Smart City, but Achuthanandan got them increased to 90,000.