A day after the Congress accused the Modi government at the Centre of trying to prevent state-run Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) from being declared bankrupt, Gujarat Energy Minister Saurabh Patel on Tuesday said that the company has not defaulted on any of its loan payments.
“The GSPC has been regularly paying both the principal amount and the interest payments to the banks. It has never defaulted on its loan payments,” Patel said in a release, rebutting the allegations made by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh who alleged that the company owes over Rs 12,000 crore to various banks. Patel, however, did not mention the quantum of loans taken by the GSPC or the amount being repaid to banks.
Patel also said there was no question of declaring the GSPC bankrupt as per the RBI rules.
The minister refuted Ramesh’s claimed that a Rs 20,000-crore scam has come to light in the GSPC. Claiming that the allegations made by Ramesh were unfounded and devoid of facts, Patel stated that GSPC is the country’s second biggest gas distribution and trading company and one of its subsidiary —Gujarat Sate Petronet Limited (GSPL) — is the second largest gas transmission company. “Another subsidiary, Gujarat Gas Limited, has become the country’s biggest gas distribution company,” Patel said while trying to establish the “strengths” of the GSPC Group of Companies.
“The allegation that GSPC’s KG Basin venture is a scam is baseless, as the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) had never alleged any intentional wrongdoing or irregularities in the conduct of the GSPC business,” Patel said, adding the Opposition party either lacked the “ability to understand nuances of the business of hydrocarbons exploration or perhaps they don’t wish that India attains self-dependency in the hydrocarbon sphere”.
He accused the Congress of having an “anti-Gujarat psyche” and of “running a campaign of fallacies on the KG Basin project of the GSPC”.
“The GSPC has always acted as a responsible business entity,” he added.
The minister said the erstwhile UPA government at the Centre had appointed auditors who checked accounts of the KG Block, which he said was awarded to GSPC “pursuant to international competitive bidding”.
Speaking on Ramesh’s charge that the Central government had filed an affidavit in the Allahabad High Court against the RBI circular, Patel said the case before the HC has nothing to do with GSPC. “The case is only limited to companies in the power sector and has been filed by private power producers against the RBI’s circular. This entire issue before the Allahabad High Court has nothing to do with GSPC,” Patel said.
(With inputs from PTI)