Baalu’s business interest in Sethu project: Swamy

April 28th, 2008 - 9:37 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy Monday alleged in the Supreme Court that Union Transport Minister T.R. Baalu is trying for expeditious implementation of the Sethu Samundram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) to further his family business interests. In a fresh application filed in the apex court, the former minister alleged that Baalu has family interest in both fishing and shipping and building a shorter navigational sea route around India’s southern peninsula would greatly benefit his family business.

Swamy made the allegation in an application which also sought the court’s direction to make Baalu a party to his petition against the implementation of the SSCP project and allow him to have his say during the hearing of his petition.

Swamy, along with several others, is agitating before the apex court seeking to stall the implementation of the SSCP project, aimed at building a shorter navigational sea route after damaging the Adam’s bridge or the Rama Sethu between India and Sri Lanka.

In his application, Swamy said, “Baalu and his various family members, including his two wives and two sons, have stakes in a private firm named Meenam Fisheries Limited which has fishing and shipping interests in the Palk Strait, Gulf of Mannar and the company will tremendously benefit from the implementation of the project.”

Quoting from Baalu’s affidavit filed before the Election Commission of India, declaring his assets and liabilities, Swamy said the minister himself has declared that he owns shares worth Rs 2.94 million in Meenam Fisheries Limited, while one of his two wives, T.R.B. Porkodi, owns its shares worth Rs 675,600.

Citing records from the Company Law Board, Swamy said that Baalu’s another wife, B. Renuka Devi, and his two sons T.R.B. Rajkumar and T.R.B. Raja are the directors of the company, which is a public limited company with deep sea interest.

A market leader in India with fishing operations in more than four countries and exporting all over the world, the company owns a number of vessels with such tonnage that allows their navigation in the shorter sea route around India.

Swamy also added that a shorter navigational sea route around India, beside serving Baalu’s own family business interest, would also enhance the same for other leaders belonging to DMK to which the minister belongs.

He said DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi from Tamil Nadu, too, owned shares worth Rs 350,000 in another company Westgate Logistics, which is engaged in services like “stevedoring, shipments consolidation and deconsolidation, global freight forwarding and customs management, regional warehousing and distribution network in the SSCP project.”

Swamy’s petition is to be heard Wednesday by the apex court.

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