Chennithala accused the government of bid-rigging

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday accused the government of rigging bids to favour global firms it preferred.

Escalating his war of words over governmental corruption with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Mr Chennithala said the political executive circumvented due process to hire the firm they wanted to execute major projects. As an afterthought, Mr Vijayan would employ a compliant global consultancy to write a report that justified his arbitrary decision.

Mr Chennithala said the proposal to hire a Swiss firm to implement the e-mobility project in 2018 was a case in point. The government let the representatives of the firm partake in discussions regarding the award of the ₹6,00-crore project aimed at electrifying the State’s public transport system to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and lessen Kerala’s carbon footprint.

Mr Vijayan championed the project. However, he had to abandon it after Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and the then Chief Secretary opposed the scheme. They said a public sector entity in Kerala could not sign an MOU with any foreign firm circumventing without proper approvals.

Mr Vijayan, he alleged, had, “as usual” contracted a “blacklisted” global business consultancy to ensure that it wrote a tailor-made report that suited the Swiss firm’s product and service specifications.

Mr Chennithala said Mr Vijayan acted arbitrarily and often kept the Cabinet and coalition in the dark about important decisions that involved substantial financial commitments.