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Kerala: Kitex Committed Serious Violations by Using CSR Funds For Political Activities, Claim 3 MLAs

Ernakulam District Collector Jafar Malik today held a special meeting of the District Development Committee in which three MLAs from the district– P T Thomas of Thrikkakara, Eldhose Kunnappilly (Perumbavur) and P V Sreenijin (Kunnathunad)– raised allegations against Kitex, which the company later rejected in a statement.

Kitex Garment Factory in Kerala. (Source: Kitex official Website)

Kochi: Various government departments have found serious violations by the Kitex company, three MLAs from the district claimed on Monday after a special meeting called by the Ernakulam District collector to discuss the matters raised by the legislators against the firm.

Ernakulam District Collector Jafar Malik today held a special meeting of the District Development Committee in which three MLAs from the district– P T Thomas of Thrikkakara, Eldhose Kunnappilly (Perumbavur) and P V Sreenijin (Kunnathunad)– raised allegations against Kitex, which the company later rejected in a statement.

The meeting was attended by officials from various departments including the Labour, Pollution Control Board, Panchayat, Agriculture, Irrigation, factories, and police among others.

The MLAs alleged that the company’s CSR funds were used for political activities of the ‘Twenty-20’ and sought an inquiry into this.

“We have pointed out that there was no transparency in the the CSR fund utilisation of the company in the Kizhakkambalam panchayat. They have registered Twenty-20 as a political party and the company’s CSR funding was not transparent,” Thomas told the media.

READ MORE: Kerala: Investors Hesitant To Invest In State Due To ‘Nooku-Kooli’, Says High Court

The MLAs have also raised allegations that the panchayat members were given a salary by the company.

“They were functioning alike a corporate company, providing salaries to the elected representatives. We have produced all the bank details,” Thomas said.

The MLAs questioned the Panchayat’s claim that it had saved Rs 13 crore from the fund allotted to it by the state government for developmental activities. “Panchayat is not a profit making organisation and there is no need to save the money rather than use it for the further development of the panchayat,” the MLAs said.

Sreenijin said there were many procedural lapses in the awarding of tender to construct certain roads in the panchayat.

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He said certain roads were constructed without awarding a tender.
“Various government departments have cited various procedural lapses in the functioning of the panchayat. We had raised these in various district development council meetings. So this meeting was specifically to discuss the allegations against the company,” Sreenijin said.

However, in a statement the Kitex company rejected the allegations raised by the legislators.

“P T Thomas tried to deceive the public after the meeting. The Kizhakkambalam panchayat had saved Rs 13 crore by taking steps against corruption and indulging in good governance. Thomas, who is also an MLA, says this is an offence,” the company said.

READ MORE: Narcotic Jihad: BJP Leaders Meet Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt Cong Accuses State Govt Of Being ‘Mute Spectator’

The twenty-20, a political party with the backing of Kitex company, is ruling the Kizakkambalam panchayat.

The company said no other firm in Kerala might have faced this many number of inspections.

The Left government has been probing the complaints of three Congress MLAs and inspections were a result of the various complaints to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Kerala High Court and other authorities against the company.

Earlier, the company chairman Sabu M Jacob had held discussions with the Telangana state government which had invited the company to invest there. Jacob had also said that Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu governments too had invited his company.

Alleging harassment by the Kerala government officials, Jacob had in the last week of June said his group was withdrawing its Rs 3,500 crore project from the State.

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