State has no role in SICOM's funding to Kingfisher: Deputy CM

Ajit Pawar says govt doesn't interfere in the working of SICOM, the finance company in which Maharashtra govt holds 49% equity

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar yesterday denied that the Democratic Front government had any role to play in the decision by SICOM -- a non-banking finance company partly owned by the Maharashtra government -- to lend Rs 400 crore to liquor baron Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines.

Ajit Pawar
"We have no role in it as the state has almost no contribution in the working of the body," Pawar said at the NCP's state headquarters at Nariman Point.

Known previously as the State Industrial and Investment Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd, SICOM is knows to be engaged in promoter funding. It maintains 51 per cent stakes from private sector and 49 per cent from the state government.

Pawar further said that though an IAS officer from the state cadre heads the company, it has other experts as directors. "We do not interfere in it; this has also resulted in the company's better performance," said the deputy CM, who also heads the finance and planning department.

'It's the borrower'
"The loan could have been given by ensuring the repayment capacity of the borrower," Pawar further quipped.
Apart from R M Premkumar, former chief secretary of the state who heads the company, the state has four IAS officers as senior functionaries at SICOM.

While Baldev Singh is MD, Principal Secretary (Industries) K Shivaji, Director (Industries) Sanjiv Sethi, and  J P Gupta are directors at SICOM. The private sector is represented by six other directors.

According to informed sources, SICOM uses funds from state-owned companies to lend other private sector

A comprehensive audit conducted by a team deputed by the Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that SICOM used funds of state-owned irrigation companies to lend to other parties.
Also, only 1 per cent of the interest rate charged by SICOM went in favour of the state government companies, sources said.

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