New Delhi: Civil Aviation Ministry has hit back at Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for reportedly holding that government would suffer a loss of Rs 1.63 lakh crore by leasing out land to Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) at concessional rate, saying it was "grossly misleading".
The Ministry has also said that the CAG, during a single round of discussion with its officials, had not referred to several issues including those relating to land, aeronautical and non-aeronautical services or bid conditions.
However, these issues had found their way in the draft CAG report even when many of them were either not discussed or the Ministry was not given an opportunity to clarify, Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi is understood to have said in a communication to CAG Vinod Rai.
The Ministry has said that in the absence of an opportunity to it for clarification, several issues brought in the final report might not be factually correct, according to official sources here.
The letter by Zaidi to Rai recently has maintained that reports about the CAG findings had spoken of several issues which had either not been discussed or were not raised during the audit.
The "purported astronomical figure" of Rs 163,560.19 crore is "grossly misleading," the letter is believed to have said.
The CAG report, which is yet to tabled in Parliament, had maintained that the government may end up losing a whopping Rs 1.63 lakh crore by leasing out the land to DIAL at a concessional rate of a mere Rs 100 per annum.
The Ministry is also understood to have asked the CAG to issue a clarification regarding the correctness or otherwise of the findings. It has also sought an opportunity to clarify various issues raised by the auditor.
Following reports on the CAG findings, the DIAL had also
pointed out that these were based on "erroneous calculations" and that land at concessional rates and other benefits available to it to run the Delhi airport were part of the bid document and were available to every bidder.
In its letter, the Civil Aviation Ministry is also understood to have stated that the figure of Rs 1.63 lakh crore as potential earning for DIAL, projected by the CAG, was over a 58-year period for the land given to it.
Moreover, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) during that period is to get gross revenue share of 46 percent on whatever amount was realised, the Ministry pointed out.
This amount to the AAI is estimated to be about Rs 3-4 lakh crore over that period, it is believed to have told the CAG.
Maintaining that there was no concessional land as part of Operations, Maintenance and Development Agreement (OMDA) between the government and GMR, which runs DIAL, it has said only five percent of the total land of 5,000 acres at Delhi airport was supposed to be available for commercial operations.
As this was part of OMDA and the bid document, this concession was available not only for DIAL but for every bidder who had put in their bids when privatisation of the Delhi airport was announced, the letter has pointed out.
The Ministry is also believed to have refuted suggestions that there was deviation from a Cabinet note on the extension of concession period, asserting that the entire process was transparent and fair.
The Supreme Court had also upheld the entire bid conditions and bid process as legally valid and correct, the Ministry is understood to have said.
First Published: Monday, July 2, 2012, 19:34