GMR reluctant to share info with AAI on DIAL accounts
As DIAL completes 10 years of operating the international airport here, majority stakeholder GMR remains reluctant to share certain financial information about the joint venture sought by the Airports Authority of India for audit purpose. Diversified GMR group holds 64 per cent stake in Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) while Mini-ratna Public Sector Undertaking AAI has 26 per cent ownership and the rest is with Germany’s airport operator Fraport.
Sources in the know said GMR has been showing reluctance to share certain documents related to the accounts of DIAL with AAI even after a year of the government informing GMR of a CAG audit of the AAI revenue of DIAL. According to them, AAI has sought various documents, including those pertaining to DIAL’s internal audit, for a proposed (Comptroller and Auditor General) audit of the former’s accounts.
As part of the JV agreement, the government-run airport operator is entitled to a 46 per cent share in the revenue of DIAL.
A set of detailed queries sent to GMR spokesperson, Sidharath Kapur President and CFO-Airports at GMR Group and DIAL Chief Executive Officer Prabhakara Rao on April 27, on whether it has refused to share the internal audit report of DIAL remained unanswered.
The query on whether GMR has refused to share with AAI documents related to the joint venture’s various subsidiaries also did not elicit any response. On April 20, a DIAL spokesperson had responded to queries related to possible audit of DIAL accounts by CAG. On whether GMR has provided all the documents as requested for the CAG audit, the spokesperson said AAI has not asked for any documents from DIAL for the audit.
“However, it has sought certain documents and details from DIAL under the provisions of OMDA (Operations, Management and Development Agreement), which have already been provided to AAI within the given time,” he noted. Interestingly, on February 25, the government informed the Lok Sabha that AAI has sought documents from its joint venture partners -- GMR and GVK -- for a CAG audit of the books of accounts of the Delhi and Mumbai airports.
“AAI has appointed CAG as its representative to scrutinise the books of accounts of Delhi International Airport (DIAL) and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to ensure that due government share is accruing to AAI,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma had said in a written reply.
When asked whether GMR is opposing a CAG audit, a DIAL spokesperson, on April 20, had said, “DIAL, in principle, is not against any audit by AAI as per the provisions of the OMDA”. “In terms of the provisions of article 149 of the constitution of India section 15-20 of the CAG Act, 1971 as well as the CAG guidelines on PPP, there does not exist authority in favour of CAG to conduct the audit of PPP projects,” the DIAL spokesperson said in an e-mailed response.
However, he declined to provide clarity on whether GMR is opposed to CAG audit. The spokesperson said that the Kelkar committee on PPP projects had also categorically stated that such projects are not subjected to CAG audit.
“In case of DIAL, there exist checks and balances through proper audit mechanism, such as, internal audit, statutory audit by one of the international reputed big firms, revenue audit by auditors appointed by AAI and regulatory checks and certification by Independent Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA). “Further, DIAL board and audit committee comprising AAI nominee and independent director(s) also audit books and accounts of DIAL,” he said.