FIR against Congress leader N. Venugopal in laser show case

Senior Kerala Congress leader N. Venugopal. File

Senior Kerala Congress leader N. Venugopal. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) has booked a First Information Report against N. Venugopal, a prominent Congress leader and former chairman of the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), and others in a corruption case related to the now-defunct laser show at Rajendra Maidan.

Former GCDA secretary R. Lalu, former Senior Town Planner of the Authority, Gopalakrishna Pillai, former Assistant Engineer Dileep Gopalakrishnan, former executive engineers Jebi John and Mathew Joy, former Superintending Engineer C. J. Jacob, and Sunitha Maheshkumar, the proprietor and Managing Director of Laser Tech Entertainments Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, the firm which had set up the laser show unit and its director Maheshkumar are the other accused.

It was on a complaint from K.T. Cheshire, a public interest litigant, that the agency began the probe into the controversial project.

The laser show had to be abandoned after a few weeks of its inauguration with some of the equipment developing technical snags. The project had also invited public protest as the access to the open space of the maidan was denied with the setting up of the project.

The VACB case is that the first seven accused, who were public men, misused their offices and conspired with the company director and the managing director, the eighth and the ninth accused in the case, for making undue monitory benefits and causing pecuniary loss for the State government in the process.

The accused conspired with each other and used the own funds of the Authority for setting up the laser show, which was in violation of the government order, which stated that only 30% of the Authority’s funds shall be used for the project and the rest shall be raised as bank loan, according to the FIR.

Later, the seven accused made a supplementary contract with the same company in violation of the terms and conditions of the primary agreement. The firm failed to supply the equipment as listed in the agreement schedule of the contract. While the price of some equipment was shown hiked than the market value, some other equipment was not installed as mentioned in the agreement thus causing a pecuniary loss of ₹99.36 lakh to the Authority.

The various acts of omissions and commissions of the accused resulted in an undue pecuniary for the firm, said the FIR filed by the agency in the Special Court at Muvattupuzha.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 8:14:26 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fir-against-congress-leader-n-venugopal-in-laser-show-case/article65598886.ece