‘Masala Bonds’ used by many agencies: KIIFB at HC – Times of India

KOCHI: Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) has contended before the Kerala High Court that ‘masala bonds’ were issued not only by it but by several other institutions such as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to raise funds for developmental projects.
Highlighting the wide use of ‘masala bonds’ by various institutions to raise funds, KIIFB’s counsel submitted that the ED should be asked to file an affidavit on how many ‘masala bonds’ have been issued and how many are being probed. There is no reason to single out Kerala by the ED and such actions have wider ramifications on the infrastructure development of the state, the counsel submitted. When KIIFB approaches foreign financial institutions, the proceedings by the ED are being cited them, the counsel added.
The contention was raised during the hearing on a petition filed by KIIFB challenging repeated summonses issued to its officers by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In addition to KIIFB’s plea, the court is also considering a petition filed by former finance minister Thomas Isaac challenging the summonses issued by the central agency.
When the cases came up for hearing on Friday, justice VG Arun asked the petitioners’ counsels whether the matter can be heard after Onam vacation as the additional solicitor general wishes to appear for ED.
KIIFB’s counsel agreed to the suggestion but requested the court to set a deadline for ED to file a counter affidavit in response to the contentions raised by it in the plea. The enquiry has been going on for 18 months and officials are being asked to provide personal details of family members, the counsel submitted.
The court said its earlier directive to ED not to proceed further while it hears the petitions should continue and posted the case for further hearing on September 23rd.

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