Thiruvananthapuram: Even as the Kerala government is washing its hands of the controversial deep-sea fishing project planned with the India subsidiary of a US company, EMCC Global Consortium, enquiries reveal the parent group has poor antecedents.
The EMCC International (India) Pvt Ltd had presented the outline of the deep-sea fishing project to the state government even before it was legally formed. Moreover, the government signed MoU for a Rs 5,000 crore project within three months of the formation of the company.
The New York-based EMCC Global Consortium had submitted a detailed project report envisaging Rs 5,224.49 crore investment via its subsidiary company EMCC International (India) Pvt Ltd on August 3, 2019. The EMCC Global Consortium itself came into being on November 26, 2019. Strangely, a company which had not been formed legally managed to come up with a project before the Kerala government and this alone is enough to give rise to suspicions about corruption in the deal.
The report mentioned that the project would be implemented under the aegis of the parent firm. The Angamaly-based subsidiary company EMCC International (India) Pvt Ltd came into being on January 11, 2019, months before its parent firm came into existence.
The MoU was signed with the company on February 29, 2020, soon after the formation of EMCC Global Consortium.
A company with the same name was formed in Philadelphia in America on June 19, 2005. The fact that the company’s subsidiary registered in India did not submit the fishing project also raises suspicion.
EMCC president Shiju Varghese clarified that the tax rates varied from state to state in the United States. And that is the reason two companies with the same name were registered in different states.
Dr M V Pillai's name misused
The inclusion of noted US-based Malayali oncologist Dr M V Pillai's name in the project document was likely done with ulterior motives. He has been named as a strategic partner in the project document submitted by the company before the state government.
Dr Pillai, however, said he was not aware of the EMCC group and asked the company authorities to remove his name and tender an unconditional apology.
"I called up Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and lodged a complaint in this regard. Some people had met me at my Thiruvananthapuram residence saying that they wanted to implement a healthcare project for the fishermen who had carried out stupendous service during the floods in the state. I told them that the proposal sounded good and saw them off. I don’t have any association with the fishing project," the Dr Pillai clarified.
On Monday the Kerala government announced it would be scrapping the MoU that the state-owned Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSIDC) had concluded with EMCC International to carry out deep-sea fishing off the coast of the state. This move came in the wake of severe censure by the Opposition which claimed that the interests of the fishing community has been jeopardized.