Thiruvananthapuram: The Department of Industries was keen about the deep-sea fishing project even though the state minister concerned had feigned ignorance about a deal in the works when the Opposition raised a hue and cry a couple of months ago.
The e-file documents of the Kerala government reveal that the industries department had initiated steps to submit the MoU over deep-sea fishing for the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.
The MoU was signed by the government with the US-based entity EMCC.
The industries department opened the file on February 19. The private secretary of E P Jayarajan, the Minister for Industries and Sports, checked the file the next day and handed it over to the Principal Secretary a week later. In between the government announced it would revoke the MoU following vehement opposition.
The Chief Minister and Ministers had contended that the government was not aware of the deep-sea fishing project and no further action was taken on the MoU. With the latest revelations, it has become clear once again that their contention is not correct.
Representatives of the EMCC had met Minister Jayarajan at the Secretariat on February 11 and submitted a request for getting the Cabinet's approval for the MoU. The minister initially denied that such a meeting had taken place. Later he claimed that several people meet him and that action was not taken over all matters.
The Minister further alleged that opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had conspired with the EMCC representatives and sent them to him. However, the documents with regard to the file make it clear that the industries department had promptly taken action over the EMCC request.
Alex Joseph, an assistant at the industries department, opened the file (number - IND - J1/39/2021) on February 19. Then section officer R K Shibi and Minister E P Jayarajan's private secretary K Radhakrishnan had examined the file and handed it over to Principal Secretary K Ellangovan the next day.
Meantime, the Opposition raised allegations against the project. It is clear from the documents that Minister E P Jayarajan had checked the file and handed it over to Ellangovan on February 26.
Though the government had decided to cancel the MoU on February 24, the order in this regard has not been issued yet, it emerged the other day.