Kejriwal alleges fixing of gas prices, hoarding in KG basin
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily, former Minister Murli Deora and former Director-General of Hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal have been named in an FIR registered by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi government over alleged collusion in fixing natural gas prices and hoarding in the KG-D6 basin.
The top politicians and the corporate head have been charged under Section 13 (1) (C) and (D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, ACB sources said.
The FIR was lodged late on Tuesday evening, the same day that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal directed the unit to probe the allegations made by former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian, former Navy Chief Admiral R.H. Tahiliani, lawyer Kamini Jaiswal and former Union Secretary E.A.S. Sarma.
Mr. Kejriwal on Wednesday told journalists that all the four had been named in the FIR. The Chief Minister also wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to suspend the Central government’s decision to hike gas prices from April 1, citing the cascading effect it would have on the people.
According to the complaint, the allegations include inflating gas prices much above the cost of production and keeping production much below the capacity to seek upward revision.
Quoting the complaint, Mr. Kejriwal questioned the relevance of fixing gas prices in terms of U.S. dollars when the entire production was consumed internally. The complaint alleges that gas prices will be doubled from April 1 to $8.4 (Rs.524.20) per mbtu as against $4.2 (Rs.262.25) per mbtu because of collusion between RIL and UPA-II government servants. The hike would cost the country a minimum of Rs.54,500 crore a year and allow RIL to make a windfall of Rs.1.2 lakh crore, the complaint alleged.