Sunday, November 22, 2009

AQ link: Monorail co under scanner

AQ link: Monorail co under scanner

November 22nd, 2009
By Our Correspondent



Bengaluru
Nov. 21: Scomi International, the multi-billion dollar Malaysian firm which joined hands with Indian company Geodesic for the 58 km monorail project in Bengaluru is under the state government’s scanner after an intelligence tip-off about the Malaysian firm’s links to rogue Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan’s network.
According to sources in the secretariat, the government will seek directions from the Union ministry of home affairs on the issue. “We have received inputs from intelligence agencies about the involvement of Scomi’s chief executive officer Shah Hakim Shahzanim Zain in the clandestine nuclear smuggling network headed by A.Q. Khan,” a source said.
“The United States has slapped sanctions on the Malaysian businessman, whose name figures along with 12 other individuals including Khan. After the tip-off we did a background check and collected information about the nuclear proliferation. We will seek advice from Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on how to proceed.”
While Scomi tied up with L&T for the Rs 2,400 crore monorail project in Mumbai early this year, Scomi-Geodesic proposed to take up the project on the Swiss Challenge Method.
“After initial opposition from BMRCL over alignment proposed by the consortium, the infrastructure development department, which is coordinating the project, referred the project to ABIDe for concurrence. It is still in the proposal stage and nothing has been signed.
This is the second such incident we have come across after Algerian Salim Abbasi was arrested and later released following an Interpol red corner alert,” the source said.
Abbasi, who was alleged to have terror links, was keen to take up a windmill project in Karnataka. “We will wait till the Centre clears Scomi to avoid any embarrassment in the future,” the source added.
Zain, a major shareholder of Scomi, was named by the US state department for his alleged involvement in Khan’s nuclear proliferation ring. He has been banned from doing business with the American government. According to media reports, the businessman was involved in transfer of funds from Libya and Lebanon to finance the manufacture of centrifuge components manufactured by a Scomi subsidiary.

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