In July 2021, Savukku broke a huge scam in the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Fund Management Corporation (TNIFMC) and following the exposé, its CEO, Krishnamurthy Vijayan was shown the door and he was relieved from 31 August 2021. The Finance Department appointed Additional Secretary Finance Prashant M Wadanare, IAS, as CEO. Read part one of the article on TNIFMC here.
Only the former CEO, Krishnamurthy Vijayan had quit the firm and the remaining people, who were alleged to have been brought into TNIFMC by incumbent Finance Secretary S.Krishnan still continue and draw whopping salaries. Further, the main reason for this mess – S.Krishnan till date continues as Finance Secretary. As we have detailed in the previous article, the TNIFMC continues to run and bleed the exchequer, without turning up any worthwhile investments. Though former CEO Krishnamurthy Vijayan has been sacked, only his protégé, an Additional Secretary working under Krishnan has replaced him.
We are in possession of the Annual Reports of TNIFMC for FYs 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Let us take a look at the finances of TNIFMC to understand how a silent loot is perpetrated with legal sanction and the active support of TN Finance Secretary S.Krishnan.
Take a look at the “Other Expenses” in the annual report for the FY 2016-2017.
Under the sub-head Professional Charges a sum of Rs.47,31,957/- was shown as expenditure. According to highly placed sources in TNIFMC, fake invoices were created by the CEO Krishnamurthy Vijayan and there was no proper audit done as to whom these professional charges were paid. Money is spent under the inexplicable “Professional Charges” till date.
Under the sub-head “Travelling & Conveyance” a sum of Rs.44,66,257/- is shown. On enquiry it has been found that, whenever the CEO travels abroad under the guise of procuring investments, he always travels in business class and stays in 7 Star hotels in TNIFMC funds. But, not even a single rupee has been brought in as investment. In the FY 2016-2017, TNIFMC has paid Rs.10 lakhs as ‘fund arranger fee’. When there was not a rupee that came in, why should the agency pay 10 lakhs to some mysterious person is a perplexing question which neither Girija Vaidhyanathan, former Chief Secretary to Government nor S.Krishnan, incumbent Finance Secretary have raised. A sum of Rs.2.15 lakhs has been shown as ‘Accommodation Expenses’. This is where it gets interesting.
This accommodation fee was paid to none other than Usha Krishnamurthy, Wife of CEO Krishnamurthy Vijayan. The Krishnamurthy couple reside in a Casa Grande Flats in Triplicane. During the FY 2015-2016, a sum of Rs.1,95,000 was paid as “Hire of Rent Free Residential Accommodation for CEO”. Similarly for 2015-2016, a sum of Rs.3,78,500/- was paid as rent.
To put it in simple terms, Krishnamurthy Vijayan had been paying rent to himself for the house he built in his wife’s name. Interestingly, the people who signed this annual report and approved it are former Chief Secretary Girija Vaidhyanathan and incumbent Finance Secretary S.Krishnan, IAS.
Let’s examine the annual report for FY 2017-2018. A sum of Rs.1,23,49,922 is shown as ‘Business Development Expenses’ under the head “Other Expenses”. A sum of Rs.90,25,745/- is shown under the head ‘Due Diligence’. Further a sum of Rs.75,10,428/- is shown under ‘Expenses relating to TNIF Operations’ and A sum of Rs.15,20,930/- is shown under ‘Contract Manpower Charges’.
Under the head ‘Professional Charges’ A sum of rupees two crores and odd is shown. Why would an organization which was being run in an unprofessional manner spend a sum of Rs.2 crores of tax payers’ money on some mysterious professional is a million dollar question which the Finance Secretary has failed to raise to the CEO. A sum of Rs.38,06,753 is spent towards ‘Travelling & Conveyance’.
Kindly note that these expenses are over and above the sum of Rs.5,27,50,129/- spent towards salary, wages & staff welfare (???).
One Kesavan Srinivasan is an IA & AS Officer of 1988 batch. He now works as Additional Dy CAG heading the International Centre for IS & Audit (iCISA). He was earlier deputed to the TNIFMC as Chief Financial Officer. Do you know the amount of salary drawn by him, the CEO Krishnamurthy Vijayan and J.Prasanthi, Company Secretary for one FY 2017-2018 ? It is a whopping Rs.3 crore and 81 lakhs.
According to the salary statement of the Company Secretary Prasanthi, she had been receiving a monthly salary of Rs. 1,34,022/- in 2021. This works out to Rs.16 lakhs and odd per annum. If Prasanthi had been receiving Rs.16 lakhs per annum in 2021, she would have been receiving less than this in 2018. So, out of the Rs.3 crore and 81 lakhs paid to the trio, Prashanthi would have received not more than Rs.16 lakhs. As such, the IA & AS Officer Kesavan Srinivasan & CEO Krishnamurthy Vijayan alone had been pocketing almost 2 crores each per annum, for turning out nothing.
Why would an officer of CAG, sent on deputation to TNIFMC be paid Rs. 1.8 crores per annum ?
Similarly for the financial year ending 2019, TNIFMC has spent the following amount under the respective heads.
Business Development Expenses 2,70,30,280
Expenses Relating to TNIF / TNSF 52,22,083
Oursourcing Manpower charges 40,94,998
Professional Charges 1,69,97,489
Travelling and conveyance 59,19,070
Sitting fees 12,60,000
Apart from the above wasteful expenditure, a sum of Rs.95,56,523 and
Rs.52,23,101 were spent on “European Investors Summit” following which not even a penny came as investment to TNIFMC.
As we have cited in our earlier piece, the TNIFMC has been functioning like a backyard of CEO Vijayan and Finance Secretary S.Krishnan without any proper audit or checks and balances.
Krishnamurthy Vijayan was appointed as a Fund Manager for one of the IDBI bank’s funds. Vijayan subsequently started his own fund named “Charioteer Fund”. In his Vijayan’s linkedin profile, he says, “Having failed to raise a fund, I closed this in 2015”. How a failed Fund Manager was chosen by government of Tamil Nadu to manage and raise funds for a public sector venture remains a mystery till date.
An Investment Committee, in any funds managed would be the Committee which will be independent, and works with the intention of bringing in funds and also to do a SWOT analysis of any proposed investment and give independent opinions whether proceed ahead with the investment or not.
The TNIFMC’s Investment Committee consists of one Azmat Taufique, “A veteran of World Bank and IMF” among others. This Azmat Taufique is a resident of UK. How he was charged to handle the Investment Committee ? Wasn’t there a single person from India who can handle TNIFMC ?
The link between TNIFMC’s former CEO Krishnamurthy Vijayan and Azmat Taufique goes back to the days when Vijayan was running his Charioteer Fund, a failed venture. The said Azmat Taufique was one of the Fund Managers in this fund is the link which landed him in TNIFMC.
Under the guise of procuring investments for TNIFMC, Krishnamurthy Vijayan and his buddy Azmat Taufique used to travel across the world in business class and stay in 7 star accommodation in the expense of tax payers’ money – TNIFMC. After our previous exposé, except CEO Krishnamurthy Vijayan and Udday Kumar Krishnan, President, SPV, Operations, none have resigned from the TNIFMC, and TN Finance Secretary Krishnan is acting as a godfather for all the chamchas of him and Vijayan still continuing and looting taxpayers’ money without any benefit for the state.
The chamchagiri doesn’t end here. One K. Janardhan is working as General Counsel in the TNIFMC. As of January 2021, he was drawing a monthly salary of Rs.2,26,464/-. He was working in a firm called Athena Infonomics a brainchild of S.Narayan, a retired IAS officer. This Narayan, served as Economic Adviser to PM between 2003-2007. At this same time, TN Finance Secretary S.Krishnan served as Private Secretary to the Union Finance Minister. Only through this connection K.Janardhan was accommodated in TNIFMC add highly placed sources.
Using TNIFMC, Krishnamurthy Vijayan got his son placed in a law firm from Bangalore named K Law. His son Keshav Vijayan who completed his law degree in Symbiosis Law School Pune, got placement in the K Law, Bengaluru through Vijayan’s influence. As a quid pro quo, the K Law firm is entrusted with most of the legal works of TNIFMC. There was no process or due diligence before selecting the K Law firm for legal works of TNIFMC. Every decision was taken as per the whims of Krishnamurthy Vijayan, with the active backing of Finance Secretary Krishnan.
Krishnan IAS, who is supposed to be the custodian of TN’s finances for reasons best known to him is allowing this humongous loot to continue unabated, rued a source in TNIFMC.
When the state is reeling under severe financial stress, why such a humongous loot is allowed to go on ?
For the year ending 2018, TNIFMC suffered a loss of Rs.9,59,42,723/- and for the year ending 2019 it suffered a loss of 8,70,59,379/-. Which sane CEO would splurge funds when the firm is suffering losses running into crores ? It is Krishnamurthy Vijayan and Krishnan coz it is not their money but taxpayers’.
A meticulous forensic audit alone will bring out the truth with regard to the functioning of TNIFMC and people who have looted the exchequer needs to be brought to book. And the role of TN Finance Secretary S.Krishnan also needs to be probed and to facilitate a fair probe, he needs to be shifted out of Finance Department.
The way, corrupt burearacrats are provided safe haven by the DMK government, this is likely to remain a pipe dream.
It is time to bring curtains down on this nefarious nepotism and scorching scam.