The Sunday Leader

Needs Green Light From AG, UDA – BoI Chief

  • Amber Light For Krrish

by Wiraj Silva

The highly-debated and long-delayed Krrish project – which recently recommenced initial construction work,  is yet to be given green light by the government as it had not completed its payment obligations due, The Sunday Leader learns.

However once cleared by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and the Attorney General’s Department, the project has no impediment from the country’s investment promotion agency – the Board of Investment (BoI) of Sri Lanka, BoI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya told The Sunday Leader.

“Krrish project has no obstacles from the BoI but it has to make its final payment to the UDA and also be cleared by the AG,” Jayasuriya said.

Krrish Transworks Colombo (Pvt) Limited was awarded of 4.3-acres of land located at the Transworks premises by the UDA on a 99-year lease for Phase I of the project during the Rajapaksa regime. Construction work which began around three months back was abruptly stopped due to the final payment amounting close to Rs. 600 million due to UDA not been made.

On July 11, Namal Rajapaksa, Hambantota District MP and son of former President, was arrested on the charge of criminal misappropriation of Rs. 70 million given by the India-based Krrish Group for the development of sports in Sri Lanka. In addition, the legal work of the project was handled by Namal Rajapaksa’s own legal firm – N R Associates located at Gower Street in Colombo. In 2015 December The Sunday Leader reported that the relevant files had mysteriously gone missing from the respective legal firm.

Last year, the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Department (FCID) had commenced an investigation into the project that was initiated during the former Mahinda Rajapaksa regime (See http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2015/12/27/fcid-commences-probe-on-krrish-deal/)

The Krrish project was marred with controversy and allegations made of secret payoffs to several prominent figures of the former regime including MP Namal Rajapaksa in order to expedite the relevant approvals. The issue of the alleged payoff resulted in a controversy over the final installment the Krrish Group was due to pay the UDA to complete the land lease transaction. The project has been stalled since March 2013.

It was reported at the time that Krrish had deposited the amount equivalent to the final installment for the Krrish Transworks Colombo (Pvt) Limited project in a private bank in Singapore as a payoff to a VVIP. The final installment that was due to the UDA by Krrish amounted to around Rs. 450 million. Krrish has so far made a payment of Rs 4.4 billion while the total due to the UDA at the time was reported to be Rs 4.995 billion. The final payment is yet be made to close the land lease deal.

In a statement issued in 2013 July, the Krrish Group said that from the very first MoU, it made it clear that Krrish would require a staggered payment plan for land as its parent company in India had commitments to meet with in several multi-billion-dollar on-going property development activities in India.

“We have been making payments according to the schedule agreed and so far Rs. 4,250 million has been paid to the UDA which constitutes 85 per cent of the total payments,” it added.

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