The AAI employees union has sought a CBI probe into the Mumbai Airport land issue after citing a CAG report which castigated the Civil Aviation Ministry for granting extensions to the airport modernisation project, delayed by four years, and not penalising the private operator for it.
“Delhi Airport land is a big scam and the Mumbai Airport land (scam) is even bigger… Regarding Mumbai airport, the CAG report is in public domain… Please investigate Mumbai airport case also,” the Airports Authority Employees Union said in its request to CBI.
It also urged the CBI director to consider its request as a “complaint”. It has sent copies of the letter to the Minister of Civil Aviation, Civil Aviation secretary as well as to the Chairman of AAI.
AAEU welcomed the central investigative agency’s move to initiate a probe against unknown officials of Civil Aviation Ministry, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Delhi International Airports Ltd (DIAL) and GMR for alleged irregularities in the Delhi Airport land deal. The previous UPA government had in 2006 handed over the two airports — Delhi and Mumbai, which cater to the bulk of air traffic — to two private companies, respectively, the GMR and GVK groups, for modernisation and operation under a revenue sharing agreement.
NCP leader Praful Patel was at the helm of the Civil Aviation Ministry when the two top revenue-generating airports were handed for modernisation to corporates despite stiff opposition from the unions.
Both Mumbai and Delhi Airport are run under joint venture companies, namely MIAL and DIAL. While MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Ltd) is a 74:26 JV between a GVK-led consortium and AAI, DIAL is 74:26 JV between GMR-led consortium and the airports operator.
CAG in its report had said, “Neither Operations, Management Development Agreement (OMDA) nor the lease deed signed between MIAL and AAI demarcated the land leased to MIAL.
“Both documents were to have a map of the premises, which was left blank… as such area of CSI airport Mumbai stated to be 1,875 acres in the Request For Proposal increased to 2,006 acres on actual survey by MIAL. The very significance difference in area quoted by AAI and MIAL raises questions on the quality of land records maintained by the AAI.”
The CAG report further stated that “as per the OMDA, the concessionaire was eligible for commercial exploitation of 10 per cent of the demised premises. With the increase in demised premises, the quantum of commercially exploitable land available to MIAL as per OMDA increased by 10.23 per cent”. CAG, in its report, also found that the carved out assets were primarily intended for the use of AAI and could be transferred to MIAL for aeronautical purposes only following suitable negotiations as per OMDA.
“AAI transferred 48.15 acres out of the carved out assets to MIAL against a consideration based on a meagre upfront payment by MIAL (of Rs 3.52 crore) without negotiations,” the report said.
Last year, a Gujarat-based social activist, Vishwas Bhamburkar, had filed an FIR in Mumbai, based on the said CAG report, accusing MIAL and GVK of receiving undue benefits to the tune of Rs 5,887 crore through various irregularities while constructing the airport. The FIR was later stayed by Bombay High Court.
The FIR had named Alok Sinha, a former joint secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Dr GVK Reddy, chairman and managing director of GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, GV Sanjay Reddy, managing director of MIAL, and a few Mumbai Police officials.
There was no immediate response from MIAL regarding this matter.