Thiruvananthapuram: The Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas Group, the legal consultants contracted to help the Kerala government take part in the Thiruvananthapuram airport bidding process, has said they have not helped the Adani Group in any way to secure the contract.
The company said the Adani Group had their legal support team and the bid amount quoted by the Government of Kerala was confidential till the bids were made public.
The company told The Hindu that its brief was to provide legal advice and the company did just that. A controversy erupted after it came to be known that Paridhi Adani, the daughter-in-law of Gautam Adani, was a partner in the law firm, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Paridhi’s father, Cyril Shroff, is the managing partner of the firm and they offer legal consultancy to the Adani Group for various projects of the latter.
The Adani Group had won the lease contract for the airport in a bidding process in which the Kerala Government had also taken part. The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) took part in the bidding on behalf of the government.
Initially, the plan was that the company formed by the state government, Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Ltd, would take part in the bid. But it was legally untenable. The KSIDC then decided to take part in the bid. The KSIDC had to show on book the assets of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and the Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) to breach the asset benchmark set for the bidding process.
In the midst of this, the state found itself embroiled in another controversy as reports emerged that it paid Rs 55 lakh to Amarchand Mangaldas. The state was paying the firm Rs 1 lakh per day. The services were enlisted in January and the services continued for 45 days, till February 14. So, reports pointed out that the amount should have been only Rs 45 lakhs, even if all holidays are taken into account.
Also, the hourly rate fixed for the group was Rs 13,000. KSIDC had told the government that the company was charging them right from the time the officials started their trip from Mumbai. The consultancy told the government in writing that this was unfair.
After a lot of back-and-forth and discussion, the bill was paid after a couple of months.
The ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M] state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said the state government was unaware of the consultant’s link with the Adani Group.