APIIC row: governments mulls private audit

Hyderabad, August 14: The ongoing APIIC-Emaar Properties issue is taking a new turn with the State Government considering a full-fledged audit by an independent agency among other options to determine violations if any. However, what remains to be seen is whether the government will go the whole hog to make Emaar cough up and thereby ensure that APIIC gets its due share in the Emaar Hills Township project.

“The onus is on us (government) to prove if there’s anything wrong. Let there be an independent audit and if at all there’s something incorrect, we can always make them pay up,” said an official. Emaar Hills Townships Pvt. Ltd., (EHTPL), a joint venture between APIIC and Emaar Properties, currently has Ernst & Young as its statutory auditor and undertakes quarterly audits.

The official suggested that the government also had the option of seizing the land or buying out Emaar’s stake in case it’s proved that the developer had indeed violated norms.

Under fire from various quarters, another senior bureaucrat for the first time has come out in the open issuing a signed three-para clarification on Friday. “I shall do everything possible to ensure that all the dues legitimately payable by Emaar and its SPVs are recovered by undertaking all necessary steps required for the purpose,” said B P Acharya, Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce Department. Acharya was the former managing director of APIIC and is also the board member of the JV — EHTPL.

On the other hand, rebutting all the charges made by APIIC, Emaar Properties ruled out exiting from the project. “We invested about Rs 900 crore in the township project alone. We have no intention to move out,” said Shrikant Joshi, CEO, Emaar MGF. “We have signed a contract and have not violated the norms,” he said.