NEW DELHI -- The alleged irregularities in the grant of land at concessional rates for operations to GMR has come under the scanner of the CBI.
The agency has registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against unknown officials of Civil Aviation Ministry, Airport Authority of India (AAI), Delhi International Airports Limited (DIAL) and GMR, official sources said. Investigations have begun, they said. The PE pertains to leasing of nearly 200 acres of land belonging to AAI to GMR group which has resulted in financial losses to exchequer, the sources said. When asked for comments, GMR spokesperson said "We are not aware of any such enquiry. On the contrary, both High court as well as Supreme court have upheld the award of IGI Airport to the GMR led consortium as early as in the year 2006."
The alleged misappropriation was brought out in a report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for 2012-13 which said that DIAL paid an upfront fee of Rs 150 crore to the AAI on April 29, 2006 for which the supporting documents were not provided to the CAG.
The Board of the AAI decided in a meeting on March 6, 2009 to lease out an additional 190.19 acres of land from the carved out assets to DIAL for aeronautical purpose as per the agreement of Operation Management and Development Agreement (OMDA).
The CAG has alleged that "no negotiations in good faith as enjoined" by the OMDA took place and an upfront fee was used as base to calculate the price for the additional land provided by AAI to DIAL.
This allowed AAI to lease out an additional 190.19 acres at a meagre amount of Rs 6.19 crore.
OMDA allows DIAL to use five per cent of demised land for commercial exploitation. The current value of 9.50 acres (5 per cent of 190.19 acres) as per AERA s communication to Audit amounted to Rs 950 crore. The earning potential for 58 years from 9.50 acres based on DIAL's own projections was Rs 6,475 crore.
The Civil Aviation Ministry had told auditor in March 2012 that 190.19 acres of additional land leased out was purely aeronautical area and cannot be used for any construction or commercial purpose.
However, the CAG had questioned why a private operator should be levied a fee which is much lower than that fixed by Government for its own departments.