“No decision regarding the pending arbitration proceeding was ever sought from me”
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily on Wednesday denied allegations that he stalled the recovery of $1 billion in revenue and obstructed arbitration proceedings to favour Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). He said CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta, driven by vested interests, was making baseless charges.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, Mr. Moily said it was “clearly evident” that the allegations were “baseless and malicious.” He alleged that Mr. Dasgupta was trying to stall decision-making process in the Petroleum Ministry in order to derail a serious attempt to bring back the petroleum sector to the path of performance and efficiency.
Defending his actions on the issue of arbitration proceedings and stalling the recovery of $1 billion revenue, Mr. Moily said the allegation did not have any factual basis.
The file concerned has not been dealt with by anyone in the Ministry after December, 17, 2012. On the basis of opinion of the Solicitor General, the Ministry, with the approval of then Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy, decided to join the arbitration proceedings by appointing an arbitrator in June, 2012. Therefore, it was decided before my joining the Ministry that recovery cannot be made pending arbitration proceedings,” he stated.
On imposition of further cost recovery from RIL for fall in gas production, he said till date he had not received any file in which a decision was sought, either by the Ministry or the Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), from him on issuance of such notices for the further period. “I will take appropriate decision as and when such a proposal is placed before me,” he said.
On relinquishment of 86 per cent area of the present KG basin block by RIL, he said the DGH, after examining the CAG’s report, recommended that RIL relinquish certain areas.This was processed by the Petroleum Ministry and placed before the Minister for a decision.
“Before a decision could be given, the file was withdrawn by the Secretary for re-examination of certain fresh facts/recommendations made by the DGH. The file is yet to be resubmitted to me and, therefore, the question of defying CAG recommendation or going against the recommendation of DGH does not arise. The allegations are a figment of imagination and merit no comment,” he said.