Allegations of misappropriation of funds against filmmaker

Several non-resident Keralites (NoRKs) who had invested for the development of Jatayu tourism project at Jatayupara in Chadayamangalam have cried foul over the utilisation of funds and their ‘ouster’ from a company formed to realise the endeavour.

Invested ₹40 crore

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, a group of investors who claim to represent 146 people, mostly NoRKs, who had invested ₹40 crore for the State’s first build-operate-transfer (BOT) project in the tourism sector levelled allegations against filmmaker and sculptor Rajiv Anchal, the concessionaire who had headed the execution of the project.

Vasu Jayaprakash, the executive director of Jatayupara Tourism Private Limited (JTPL), a company formed by the investors, along with other investors Ramesh Babu, Mathew P.J., Varkala Sathyan and Babu Cheruvallil accused Mr. Anchal of colluding with the Ecotourism Director, the nodal officer of the project, for their vested interests.

Commercial court

“While there is a valid contract between JTPL and Guruchandrika Builders and Private Limited (company owned by Mr. Anchal that had entered into agreement with the government for the project), he has now sought to terminate the contract, despite it being devoid of a termination clause.

While the illegal termination was challenged in the Commercial Court, Thiruvananthapuram, the nodal officer had labelled us strangers and hijackers of the project as well as the 65 acres of land allotted by the government for the project,” the group of NoRKs said.

Equity shares

They also claimed that the court held that the legality of the termination of the agreement has to be decided by the Arbitral Tribunal, the contract between the parties will remain intact till then.

They added that JTPL had allotted 45% of the equity shares, equivalent to ₹30.90 lakh to Mr. Anchal’s company, for signing the operational right agreement, despite the sculptor only making an investment of ₹10 lakh for the project.

Ticketing system

While the Jatayu project has been operational since 2018, the investors alleged that Mr. Anchal has been permitting entry for visitors without any proper ticketing system in a bid to misappropriate funds and deceive the government.

“While the government has not intervened in the issue thus far, our plight could deter non-resident Indians (NRIs) from investing in any projects in the State,” they lamented.

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