The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government, which has registered a case against Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, former minister Murli Deora and former Director-General of Hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal for alleged collusion in fixing natural gas prices and hoarding in the KG-D6 basin, would soon approach the Central Government seeking originals of all the relevant documents.
“The complainants have provided copies of many supporting papers which are being scrutinised. However, we will also require the originals/certified copies for verification and also for the purpose of evidence that is admissible in court. The government officials concerned will also be summoned seeking their cooperation in the probe. Those holding key positions in terms of decision making will have to be examined,” said an official.
He said, if necessary at a later stage, the ACB will also contact former Petroleum Ministers Mani Shankar Aiyar and Jaipal Reddy for a clear understanding on the decisions taken at different stages.
Mr. Ambani and the three others have been accused of corruption, criminal conspiracy and cheating, according to the First Information Report registered by the ACB on the basis of a common complaint lodged by former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian, former Navy Chief Admiral R.H. Tahiliani, Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal and former Union Secretary E.A.S. Sarma.
“One of the main allegations is that despite the fact that the entire production was meant for domestic consumption, the gas prices were fixed in terms of US dollars, the value of which increased over the years vis-à-vis rupee. The complainants have also alleged that gas prices were inflated much above the cost of production and production was kept much below the capacity to seek upward revision,” said the official.
He said investigations would also be conducted to ascertain whether the grounds on which petrol prices were earlier revised allegedly in contravention of the original agreement were valid.
According to the complaint, gas prices in the country would double beginning next financial year to $8.4 (Rs.524.20) per mbtu as against current $4.2 (Rs.262.25) per mbtu due to alleged collusion between RIL and the top government functionaries. The impact of the hike on gas price would cost the country a minimum of Rs.54,500 crore every year, allowing RIL to make a future windfall profit of Rs.1.2 lakh crore, it alleges.