Arvind Kejriwal rakes up K G Basin gas pricing, orders FIRs against Moily, Deora, Mukesh Ambani

Delhi Chief Minister also targeted Reliance Industries over gas prices.

New Delhi | Updated: February 12, 2014 9:23 am
Ours is a decisive battle. Corruption percolates from above and we will take action against top leaders, said  Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM Ours is a decisive battle. Corruption percolates from above and we will take action against top leaders, said Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM

Firing A high-profile salvo in what he called was the Aam Aadmi Party’s battle against corruption, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday ordered the state government’s Anti-Corruption Branch to register FIRs against Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, former minister Murli Deora and former DG of Hydrocarbons V K Sibal in a long-running controversy over alleged irregularities in the pricing of natural gas from K G Basin.

Kejriwal also demanded the Centre put on hold the move to raise gas prices from April 1 until the probe was completed.
His allegations against a serving and a former Congress cabinet minister and one of India’s top industrialists follow his targeting of power distribution firms belonging to

Mukesh Ambani’s brother Anil Ambani’s business group, Congress’s previous chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

ALSO READ: How and why PM’s advisor defended gas price formula

Last month, he also released a list of 28 prominent politicians who he alleged were corrupt. The list included Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and 13 others from the party that supports Kejriwal’s AAP in the Delhi Assembly.

The chief minister said his move was prompted by a complaint his office received from former cabinet secretary of India T S R Subramanian, former expenditure secretary E A S Sarma, retired admiral R H Tahiliani and advocate Kamini Jaiswal.
Moily hit-back at Kejriwal saying gas prices were fixed on the advice of experts.

“I think I should sympathise with his ignorance. He should know how the government functions, how these things are done. You should know that I took special interest to ensure that CNG and PNG prices were reduced,” Moily said. “He thinks that it’s just like taking water through a bucket from a well. He cannot take oil like that.”

Reliance said the Delhi government decision was shocking.

“The complaint and each of the allegations on the basis of which the Delhi government has taken such action are completely baseless and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever,” it said in a statement.

“The allegations appear to have been made by persons who are also petitioners in the Supreme Court of India in a petition in which similar allegations have been made. The issue of gas pricing is also a contentious issue between the contracting parties being the Government of India and the contractors,” it said.

“We deny these irresponsible allegations and propose to resort to the available legal remedies to protect our reputation and preserve the pioneering efforts and investment made by Reliance so far. We also remain fully committed to the development of oil and gas sector in India within the parameters of law,” Reliance said.

A senior ACB official said the FIR would be registered under IPC sections that will cover crimes such as anti-national activity, fraud, conspiracy and cheating and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Delhi government, the official added, had jurisdiction over the case.

“Existing laws and rules empower the ACB to take up the probe into complaints of corruption. The ACB enjoys concurrent powers like the CBI to investigate corruption cases. Since most of the alleged offences, including the decision to finalise the exorbitant hike in prices of gas, have been committed in Delhi, the investigation can be referred to the ACB,” he said.

The complaint to the ACB claimed the production cost of gas from the fields is less than $1 per million British thermal unit (mBtu) by Reliance’s own admission. A 17-year supply contract signed with NTPC in early 2000 agreed to supply gas at $2.34 per mBtu. However, in a few days, the price was raised to $4 per mBtu in collusion with a few Union ministers, the complaint alleged.

Also, Kejriwal alleged that the production was kept low to blackmail the government. This created an artificial shortage and gas had to be imported, leading to inflation, he alleged.

“The report on production for the week 10-16 June 2013 states that only nine out of 18 wells are in production in the KG-D6 basin and remaining are closed. Gas sales are at a mere 18 per cent and the ministry, instead of taking action and cancelling this block allotted to RIL, colluded with it and has now given into its unconscionable demand of doubling the gas price to put an unbearable burden on the people,” Kejriwal claimed.

Quoting the complaint, he said Reliance and the Central government had colluded to double gas prices to $8 per mBtu from April 1, 2014.

“The gas that should have been priced $1 will be sold at $8. The gas is from our country’s reserves and the allegation in the complaint is that gas prices were fixed as per international prices and not on the basis of cost of production,” the chief minister alleged.

He also claimed that RIL’s partner Niko was supplying gas at $2.34 per mBtu to Bangladesh. “That means we are getting gas that is costlier than what it is in Bangladesh,” he alleged.

“In case the price is raised, it will have a spiralling effect on the common man’s pocket. The price hike would impact prices of CNG and PNG. Farmers will suffer as prices of fertilizers will increase and so would prices of electricity being generated from gas-based power plants,” said Kejriwal.

Reliance, he claimed, would stand to gain Rs 54,000 crore per annum after the price increase. The Delhi government statement also cited a CAG report which alleged irregularities by RIL in the project including an increase in capital expenditure. DGH Sibal, Kejriwal alleged, showed unseemly haste in accepting the capital cost increase.

He also alleged that the government had allowed Reliance to recover its investment two times by approving a 30-per cent stake sale in 21 of the 29 blocks to British Petroleum in July 2011 for $ 7.2 billion.

Kejriwal said he would write to the PM demanding that gas prices not be raised until the ACB probe is completed, that ministries cooperate in the probe and if Reliance cannot produce enough gas, the wells be given to ONGC and other PSUs.

“Ours is a decisive battle. Corruption percolates from above and we will take action against top leaders,” Kejriwal said.

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First Published on: February 11, 2014 11:26 am
  1. A
    Ajay mittal
    Feb 12, 2014 at 12:40 am
    Which workers will loose jobs- those working in gas exploration & production. Those are skilled workers and they will find jobs with whoever takes over, if there is a takeover or somewhere else. The question which you should answer is that if corruption goes unchecked as it has been for last 60 years, where is this country headed, will there be jobs left, with high inflation, more than jobs, will people be able to feed themselves?And is this only kejriwal's problem or do you also have any responsibility in the curbing of corporate corruption? At least support the one who is leading the effort.
    Reply
    1. A
      Ajay mittal
      Feb 12, 2014 at 12:40 am
      Which workers will loose jobs- those working in gas exploration & production. Those are skilled workers and they will find jobs with whoever takes over, if there is a takeover or somewhere else. The question which you should answer is that if corruption goes unchecked as it has been for last 60 years, where is this country headed, will there be jobs left, with high inflation, more than jobs, will people be able to feed themselves?And is this only kejriwal's problem or do you also have any responsibility in the curbing of corporate corruption? At least support the one who is leading the effort.
      Reply
      1. S
        Sri
        Feb 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm
        It is unbelievable that corruption can go to such an extent that the UPA government actually p it off as business as usual. It is ridiculous that the state of affairs has been allowed to continue this far and it requires some bold action by Kejrival and co.... Hats off to him. He has the support of the educated and well wishers of India
        Reply
        1. S
          Sri
          Feb 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm
          It is unbelievable that corruption can go to such an extent that the UPA government actually p it off as business as usual. It is ridiculous that the state of affairs has been allowed to continue this far and it requires some bold action by Kejrival and co.... Hats off to him. He has the support of the educated and well wishers of India
          Reply
          1. 7
            75sputnik
            Feb 11, 2014 at 9:52 pm
            AK is a brahma-astra! I hope these politicians and the lala's are quaking in their lungis. Hope they live to see their ill gotten wealth be taken back from them. Hope they all rot in heL L for what they've done to this country.
            Reply
            1. 7
              75sputnik
              Feb 11, 2014 at 9:52 pm
              AK is a brahma-astra! I hope these politicians and the lala's are quaking in their lungis. Hope they live to see their ill gotten wealth be taken back from them. Hope they all rot in heL L for what they've done to this country.
              Reply
              1. H
                Haradhan Mandal
                Feb 11, 2014 at 11:18 am
                Arvind Kejriwal is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose!
                Reply
                1. S
                  Sanjay behl
                  Feb 11, 2014 at 11:22 am
                  CAN this Kujlewaal understands the meaning of Governance ? this psycho is living with Anarchic mindset only he can point fingers to others. HIT & RUN.the sole loser is people of Delhi.delhi will soon reach the status of instability. like the communist rules states. DARNAA DARNA AND STRIK
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Sanjay behl
                    Feb 11, 2014 at 11:22 am
                    CAN this Kujlewaal understands the meaning of Governance ? this psycho is living with Anarchic mindset only he can point fingers to others. HIT & RUN.the sole loser is people of Delhi.delhi will soon reach the status of instability. like the communist rules states. DARNAA DARNA AND STRIK
                    Reply
                    1. d
                      disqus_cdi3atN72x
                      Feb 11, 2014 at 8:07 am
                      bring down reliance ..tata ..birlas ..everybody shud sleep on roads ...what an
                      Reply
                      1. d
                        disqus_cdi3atN72x
                        Feb 11, 2014 at 8:07 am
                        bring down reliance ..tata ..birlas ..everybody shud sleep on roads ...what an
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          AP
                          Feb 12, 2014 at 3:01 am
                          ppl will not loose jobs if crony capitalism is attacked.....do u realise that the prices of gas/electricity etc. will go up due the increase in gas prices from AprilInternational Prices (NYMEX) is USD 4.77 and Reliance will get USD 8.0?Do u know that the KG-D6 basin was given free to RIL and not sold like in the case of spectrum airwaves?Do you know that the cost of production is less than USD 1.50 ?
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            AP
                            Feb 12, 2014 at 3:01 am
                            ppl will not loose jobs if crony capitalism is attacked.....do u realise that the prices of gas/electricity etc. will go up due the increase in gas prices from AprilInternational Prices (NYMEX) is USD 4.77 and Reliance will get USD 8.0?Do u know that the KG-D6 basin was given free to RIL and not sold like in the case of spectrum airwaves?Do you know that the cost of production is less than USD 1.50 ?
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              AP
                              Feb 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm
                              u mean to say there is no merit in this case and it is nautanki? u mean we must develop at the expense of corruption?google on how US govt. policy on shale gas and how it has helped US economy RELIANCE gas case is clic CRONY CAPITALISMdo u know today's NYMEX gas price is usd 4.80? and ril will get usd 8.0??Read more at: :indiatodaytoday/s...
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                AP
                                Feb 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm
                                u mean to say there is no merit in this case and it is nautanki? u mean we must develop at the expense of corruption?google on how US govt. policy on shale gas and how it has helped US economy RELIANCE gas case is clic CRONY CAPITALISMdo u know today's NYMEX gas price is usd 4.80? and ril will get usd 8.0??Read more at: :indiatodaytoday/s...
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  Aditya
                                  Feb 11, 2014 at 8:01 am
                                  Good job Arvind.....keep it up
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    AAP
                                    Feb 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm
                                    solid hit. Gadha dont worry about job losers. There is ONGC...
                                    Reply
                                    1. A
                                      AAP
                                      Feb 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm
                                      solid hit. Gadha dont worry about job losers. There is ONGC...
                                      Reply
                                      1. P
                                        prem
                                        Feb 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm
                                        People are wondering what is happening with Oil. The prices are increasing so sharply in-spite of reports indicating India has good amount of natural reserves but most are not utilized. Well done Kejriwalji and team. Hope the probe findings will be out soon.
                                        Reply
                                        1. P
                                          prem
                                          Feb 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm
                                          People are wondering what is happening with Oil. The prices are increasing so sharply in-spite of reports indicating India has good amount of natural reserves but most are not utilized. Well done Kejriwalji and team. Hope the probe findings will be out soon.
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            Ramesh
                                            Feb 11, 2014 at 7:49 am
                                            This Kejriwal is the biggest sonuva ever born in India. Hope people learn to see through his tactics soon.
                                            Reply
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