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Moily says no going back on gas price hike decision


Coming down heavily against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for ordering an “unconstitutional” FIR against Moily

gasNew Delhi: Coming down heavily against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for ordering an “unconstitutional” FIR against him and others for raising gas prices, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily today said the government will not go back on its decision to hike rates from April 1.

“Where is the question of stalling or stopping anything. It (the decision to raise gas prices for both public sector
and private producers) has gone through a governance process … it was considered by Cabinet twice and approved twice,” Moily told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

Mr. Moily’s comments came after earlier this week Mr. Kejriwal had ordered filing of a police complaint against Mr. Moily, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and its chairman Mukesh Ambani and former Petroleum Minister, Murli Deora for creating an artificial shortage of gas in the country and raising prices. “I don’t think Delhi government is our appellate authority. What they are doing is totally unconstitutional. And it is definitely against the principles of federalism,” he remarked.

The approval by Centre to Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) allowing expenditure of $8.8 billion to increase production of gas from KG basin paved the way for “future windfall” revenue of Rs 1.2 lakh crore ($20 billion) to the Mukesh Ambani-led firm, the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) alleged in its FIR.

The Delhi government’s ACB has annexed documents in its five-page FIR to drive home its point that though in 2006, the Centre had not acceded to give such approval in the wake of objections raised by Parliamentarians, the same was ignored later.

The FIR on Reliance gas pricing issue, in which Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, Ambani and others have been made accused, also annexed documents, including a complaint sent to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the basis of which the case was lodged.

According to the complaint, in 2004 RIL had submitted an integrated development plan (IDP) saying they would produce 40 mm standard cubic meters per day for an investment of $ 2.39 billion. It also alleged that within two years, RIL had submitted another plan saying they would produce 80 mmscmd for an increased investment of $ 8.8 billion.

“It sounds preposterous that to double production, the investment has to be increased four times. Having put the initial infrastructure, it ought to have cost lesser to create additional production capacity. The then Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar did not allow this and was therefore shunted out of the Ministry and Murli Deora was made the minister of PNG in January 2006. Despite strong protests from MPs like Tapan Sen, the government approved $8.8 billion expenditure. By allowing this $8.8 billion expenditure, in effect, the government allowed a future windfall revenue of Rs 1.2 lakh crore for RIL,” the complaint said.


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