BREAKING NEWS: Govt. cheque to NICE bounces

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Unbelievable as it may seem, the Rs 5 lakh cheque issued by the State Government to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise, promoters of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC), has reportedly bounced.

The cheque had been issued to NICE by the H.D. Kumaraswamy government on May 31, as ordered by the Supreme Court on April 20, as a punitive cost for filing a "frivolous" petition before it.

But well placed sources today said the cheque, which NICE promoter Ashok Kheny had displayed to the press upon receiving it, had been returned by State Bank of Mysore. No immediate reason was given, but sources said there was a problem with "reconciliation of funds".

"The said amount is being paid under protest and without prejudice to our right to file review/curative petitions," the note sent with the cheque by the project coordinator in charge of the BMIC project in the Public Works Department had said.

But the bouncing of the cheque puts a new spin on the government's intentions which is pondering a Bill to acquire the project from the promoters.

"It might be too far-fetched to allege that the cheque was deliberately allowed by the government to bounce to create further obstacles in the path of NICE," the source said. "But that it has been allowed to happen, for whatever reason and for whatever objective, puts the government in the embarrassing position of having to explain."

Also see: CHURUMURI POLL: Do you trust NICE or Govt.?