Christy Friedgram claims Rs 574 cr in damages for breach of contract

Christy Friedgram Industries, which had come under the scanner for supplying substandard food to anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, has claimed Rs 574.90 crore from the Karnataka government for terminating its agreement.

The company had filed an application with the Indian Council of Arbitration, New Delhi.  The State Cabinet on Monday decided to constitute a committee to examine the various aspects of the arbitration.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said that he would head the committee.

The Women and Child Development Department, which had entered into an agreement with Christy Friedgram on May 31, 2012, had cancelled the agreements dated September 29, 2007; July 7, 2008; and April 2, 2009.

Following this, the company had filed an arbitration application in the Bengaluru City Civil Court, after which it approached the Indian Council of Arbitration in April 2013.

The Council appointed Justice Abhay Kumar Gohil as the arbitrator of the case, while the government appointed private advocate Aditya Sondhi to argue on its behalf.

Premature release of lifers

The Cabinet decided to recommend to the governor to release 253 prisoners serving life imprisonment of 14 years. Of these, 64 prisoners have served life terms without remission. There are two among the 253 prisoners.

As per the norms, the governor would have the final say in releasing life convicts. In July, the Supreme Court had accorded the state governments the discretion to release life convicts, subject to certain conditions.

When H R Bhardwaj was the governor, he did not approve the wholesale release of life convicts. He had directed the government to submit files pertaining to each convict and the compelling reasons for the release. He had not seen any merit in the argument of the BJP government as to why he should give consent for the release when the government was not sure of the implications of releasing a large number of prisoners at one go.

New chief secretary

The Cabinet has also authorised the chief minister to appoint a new chief secretary. The present chief secretary Kaushik Mukherjee will be retiring by September-end.

Another decision of the Cabinet included the implementation of ‘Vignana Sugnana’ programme in all government colleges; and ‘Gnanaprasara’ programme in government first grade and engineering colleges and polytechnics.

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