Kochi: Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala has asked Chief Minister Pinarayi VIjayan to explain the circumstances in which the Canadian pension fund CDPQ having a 20 percent exposure in SNC Lavalin bought Rs 2,150-crore Masala Bond issued by the state government. The Masala Bond, issued for fund-raising for the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), has been hailed as a great success by the state government by projecting it as proof of the confidence of foreign investment funds in the state.
The Opposition, however, says that CDPQ is the largest shareholder in SNC Lavalin, the Canadian firm under the shadow over a bribery scandal in Kerala, when Pinarayi Viajyan was the state electricity minister. The government should give the details of the other companies and funds that have subscribed to the Masala Bonds, Chennithala said. 'Whenever Left governments are in power in the state, SNC Lavalin appears in one form or the other," he said. Chennithala also questioned the 9.8 percent interest for the bonds by the state government. The government should clarify the relationship between CDPQ and Lavalin, he said.
Isaac refutes claim: Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has refuted the charges levelled by Chennithala and said it was a futile attempt to garner cheap publicity without any factual basis. The Canada-based CDPQ is a pension fund having investments in many countries, including India. CDPQ has had Indian operations since 2016 and is not having any connections with SNC Lavalin as alleged by Chennithala, Isaac said. The Opposition is raising such allegations due to their surprise in the success of the Masala Bond issue. According to Isaac, the Opposition Leader has repeated the allegations first levelled by the BJP. He also stated that the bond was issued according to the rules.