Papers relating to the RIL-government arbitration are among the documents recovered from those arrested in connection with the alleged leak of official papers from the Petroleum Ministry, Delhi Police sources said Friday.
Police sources said recoveries included documents related to the arbitration process, note sheets of bidding prices, papers on exploration sites, gas pricing and correspondence with the Commerce Ministry.
The FIR, which details the sequence of events leading to the arrest of the accused, mentions documents and photocopies: ‘Input material on national gas grid for inclusion in finance minister’s budget speech 2015-2016’; a DO letter of Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister; photocopies of papers of petroleum planning and analysis cell; background note on performance of upstream sector; photocopy with heading ‘Further opportunities in Sri Lanka’; and, photocopy with heading ‘Exploration division ministry of petroleum and natural gas’ signed by Nalin Kumar Srivastava, Deputy Secretary.
According to the FIR, the documents that were recovered from Rakesh Kumar, one of the accused, included photocopies of a presentation to the Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas with heading ‘ONGC Videsh Ltd’, photocopy with heading ‘MoP&NG reply on the letter of Sri Naresh Chand, forwarded by PMO’.
On Friday, police told the court: “The accused have been providing some secret documents from the petroleum ministry to certain corporates.”
According to police, routine documents of daily notings made by officers of the petroleum ministry were also recovered. The note sheets mentioned upcoming projects. Concept and background notes prepared by the ministry for cabinet meetings were also recovered.
“We need to ascertain what these documents were being used for by these managers. We need find out what benefits they were getting by accessing these stolen documents. We will question the accused as we need to identify the officers they work for and who they report to,” a police officer said.
RIL has a series of ongoing arbitration actions against the government. In 2010, the company moved an arbitration suit on the expenses claimed to have been incurred on its Panna-Mukta-Tapti fields, where the government was opposed to the company deducting higher development expenses.
In 2011, RIL challenged the government for disallowing cost recovery to the tune of $2.276 billion from its KG-D6 basin gas fields on the grounds of alleged “under production” of natural gas. Then in 2013, a suit was filed on the amount that RIL had to pay as liquidated damages on four fields it relinquished after failing to discover oil or gas.
In 2014, the company filed another arbitration suit against the government’s move to defer a revision of domestic natural gas price. On January 14 this year, RIL filed a case arguing that the government had erred in forcing it to give up 81 per cent of the area in the KG-D6 block which RIL said its production contract allowed it to retain.