Alleging that the expenditure of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) for the year 2011-12 and 2012-13 smacks of huge corruption of around Rs 300 crore, senior Congress leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, Shankersinh Vaghela, on Wednesday demanded a probe by a joint committee of the house on the issue.
Vaghela made this demand while taking part in the debate over budgetary allocation for the Energy and Industries & Mines departments, citing figures from the annual reports of the GSPC. However, Cabinet minister Saurabh Patel refuted the allegations, calling them “baseless”. Patel also stated that the allegation was made by Vaghela without carefully studying the balance sheet of GSPC.
“The annual reports of the GSPC state that in the year 2011-12, the expenditure of Rs 214.9 crore was shown as miscellaneous. Whereas, in the year 2012-13, the expenditure of Rs 80 crore was shown as miscellaneous. How can the government show such a huge amount merely under the head of miscellaneous?” Vaghela said in the Assembly.
Calling this “financial indiscipline” of the state government, Vaghela said that the government could not put such a huge sum simply under the head of miscellaneous expenditure without showing vouchers for the same. “We are Gujaratis who take account of each and every paisa and here Rs 300 crore were spent without any accountability. I smell a huge scam in this. As these – 2011-12 & 2012-13 – were the election years,” Vaghela said while suggesting that the money could have been misused by the state government.
Vaghela also said that the GSPC had spent only Rs 1 crore under the head of miscellaneous expenditure in the previous two financial years. He then demanded a probe into the matter by a joint committee of the Assembly. In his speech, Vaghela also pointed out some instances of financial indiscipline and policy anomalies of the state government in the functioning of the GSPC and in its operations at KG-Basin.
The Gujarat government issued a press release while reuting the allegation levelled by Vaghela.