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CBI files cases against Srinagar AAI officials

The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered two cases against some Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees posted at the Srinagar international airport in Jammu and Kashmir for alleged corruption in the allotment of business spaces to two private companies.

In the first case, those named are Praveen Kumar Kanojia, the then manager (commercial), and Aijaz Abdullah, junior assistant (electric), who is currently attached to the commercial section, besides unknown officials. Mumbai-based P.K. Global Private Limited’s vice-president Virendra Aggrawal and unknown company employees have also been arraigned.

The agency alleges that the AAI officials conspired with the owner of P.K. Global Private Limited, caused wrongful gain to the company and themselves, and corresponding loss to the exchequer to the tune of more than ₹6.33 crore.

According to the CBI, the officials had allotted outlets for running eateries, selling dry fruits, gift items, Kashmiri handicraft, shawls and other articles in a “highly cryptic” manner, without receiving the relevant documents as mentioned in the tender. The necessary documentation process was also not followed.

The area allotted for seven years to the company for running the outlets was on the higher side, compared to the terms and conditions. The allotment was of 488 sq m, with a minimum monthly guarantee of ₹38.54 lakh. It is alleged that the additional area allotted to the firm could have generated additional revenue.

Also, as alleged, the bank guarantee submitted by Global Trends was as per the tender conditions. The guarantee had to be given through a nationalised/scheduled bank, not from any cooperative bank. The accused officials knew about the irregularity, but accepted the guarantee for “some pecuniary advantage”.

Only two notices had been sent to the company from July 2018 to August 2019 for the recovery of outstanding rent with applicable interest. Besides, no other bill on account of rent payment had been raised from October 2018 onward. No effort was made by the AAI officials to initiate recovery proceedings and get the allotted space vacated, the FIR alleges.

The second case also names the same AAI officials, accusing them of causing a loss of about ₹48 lakh to the exchequer. They allegedly conspired with the owner of Golden Chariot Hospitality Services Private Limited and provided it space for operating an executive lounge for five years.

The tender requirements include security deposit of ₹81.34 lakh in the form of bank guarantee and ₹13.55 lakh monthly rent. It is alleged that the company did not pay the decided rent, due to which the bank guarantee was encashed. The officials allegedly did not make any effort to recover the dues.

Source: thehindu.com

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