Oil prices touching a new high,the CBI has lodged a case against GAIL (India) Ltd and four private companies for causing a Rs 300-crore loss to the exchequer. The CBI recently registered a preliminary enquiry on a complaint from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas,said officials.
A preliminary enquiry is normally registered by CBI after verification and can result in filing of a regular case or closure of the case without informing courts. Top CBI officials said during the initial probe it was found that the four companies based in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka benefited from GAIL,which provided them fuel,meant for the public sector,cheap.
CBI said GAIL was required to sell a tanker of CNG to private players at Rs 4,000 per standard cubic metre. GAIL continued to charge them Rs 3,000. Top officials of GAIL are under the scanner for allegedly extending the favour,said CBI.
The alleged favour extended to the private firm for over a year resulted in a loss of Rs 300 crore. It is also alleged that GAIL did not pay heed to repeated warnings from the Petroleum Ministry and despite clear directions,continued to benefit private players.
According to CBI,some firms are controlled by foreign entities. The fuel meant for government-run coal,steel and power plants were being provided to these private companies which also meant that these plants faced scarcity of resources, said a senior official.
GAIL is also engaged in gas distribution and supplies gas to Indraprastha Gas Limited in Delhi and Mahanagar Gas Limited in Mumbai. It provides gas to households,the transport sector and commercial consumers in mega cities. It was during this expansion GAIL is alleged to have favoured private companies.
The agency said they asked GAIL to provide documents related to contracts between them and private companies and terms of agreement. The agency is examining some private company employees,said officials. The agency suspects favours were shown to private companies in lieu of illegal gratification.