UPON HIS return from Telangana after announcing a Rs 1,000-crore project in that state, garment major KITEX’s managing director Sabu Jacob on Sunday said he would not invest a single rupee in Kerala.
Jacob told reporters in Kochi that Telangana has given his company a royal reception. “We have promised an investment of Rs 1,000 crore in the first phase. Further steps would be initiated within two weeks,” he said.
KITEX had scrapped its proposed investment of Rs 3,500 crore in Kerala, alleging that “it was difficult to run the existing units due to the hurdles caused by the government”. Subsequently, the Telangana government invited KITEX to make investment in that state.
“I won’t anymore invest a single rupee in Kerala. I am indebted to local CPI (M) legislator [P V Sreenijin] for creating this situation. There are four other MLAs and an MP [all from Congress] as well. They have shown me what investor-friendliness is and how a businessman can make crores,’’ Jacob said.
Jacob alleged that it was Sreenijin — the son-in-law of former CJI K G Balakrishnan — who repeatedly demanded the officials to conduct raids at the KITEX units at Kizhakkam-balam. “Being the local MLA, Sreenijin has been exerting pressure on officials to act against KITEX. Four Congress MLAs from Ernakulam district petitioned the Chief Minister saying the company should be closed down as we are causing pollution,” he alleged.
However, he did not respond to the criticism of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had said that the KITEX move was a deliberate one to insult Kerala. Vijayan had said that the allegation that Kerala is not investor-friendly was an unsubstantiated claim.
“I would not respond to whatever be the criticism of the Chief Minister,” said Jacob.
Industries Minister P Rajeev said, “KITEX can start business in any state. But they should not have humiliated Kerala. The government is duty bound to inspect the units. The government had tried to solve the issue. We don’t have any vested interest,’’ he said.
The minister said the government was planning new legislation to make the state more investor-friendly.