Loss-making Public Sector Units no longer make news nowadays. But the story of mismanagement and corruption at Kerala State Small-scale Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO), a fully state-owned entity, is appallingly out of proportion. 

 

Until 2013, the corporation was a profit making entity. But in the fiscal ended at 2015 March, the gross deficit of SIDCO crossed ₹43 crores, thanks to corruption and financial mismanagement. When the Comptroller and Auditor General examined 50 works undertaken by the corporation, irregularities to the tune of ₹100 crores were unravelled. 
 

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In its report, the CAG found that the corporation incurred an excess expenditure of ₹ 164 crores in five years. In cement block sale, for example, the corporation made a deal worth ₹ 10 crores through an agreement that mentioned no name or company! 

 

The public sector corporation which incurred a loss of ₹ 3.9 crores by giving away ex gratia to employees flouting norms is now struggling for survival. The disbursal of salary for the month of November was partially stalled due to financial constraints. 

 

Numerous cases are pending against the corporation. The cases include the one filed by a member of Kuwait Royal family who alleged that the corporation swindled $4.78 lakhs. The failure of the corporation's plan to transport sand for construction from other states further plunged it into financial turmoil. It had taken advance payment of ₹15 lakh each from 40 distributors for the project. Even though it tried to pay back to the investors after the plan bombed, it could not repay them all. 

 

All the 77 works taken up by the SIDCO now stand halted. Most of these works, with a cumulative estimate of ₹128 cores, are of government departments. 

 

Meanwhile, there are reports that Saji Basheer, former MD of the corporation, who is facing Vigilance case, has gone into hiding. Basheer headed the corporation for nine years till the end of 2015.