New Delhi, Feb 11 (): Reliance Industries’ shares crashed as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today announced that Mukesh Ambani of Reliance industries, ex-minister Murli Deora and Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily would be named in a FIR filed by anti- corruption bureau for colluding to artificially create a shortage and increase the gas prices. This relates to supply of gas from the KG basin.
Kejriwal said that his government received four complaints against Reliance Industries. The ACB has been asked to file an FIR and start a probe.
According to Kejriwal, Reliance Industries along with former and current oil ministry had manipulated the gas pricing to reach $4 per unit. Reliance then cut down production so that India had to import it and thereby the prices shot up and in turn spiralled inflation.
Now, the oil ministry has planned to further raise the price to $8 per unit. The price hike is expected from April and inflation will further shoot up. Kejriwal wanted the gas wells to be handed over to ONGC. Kejriwal is to meet Dr Singh and ask for the gas price hike to be kept pending.
Legal counsel Harish Salve says that the pricing of gas is a decision between the Oil ministry and Reliance. Delhi state government has no say except ask the Centre to roll back the hike. Political analysts feel that Kejriwal by targeting Reliance is now stepping on to a wider platform as AAP has decided to field 100 odd candidates.
By taking on Reliance, AAP’s anti-corruption image gets bigger. Kejriwal had earlier made corruption charges involving Reliance, Nitin Gadkari and Khurshid. His charges then were that the Mukesh Ambani-owned company was blackmailing the government by cutting down production. When the standoff between the power discoms and NTPC took place, Kejriwal said that it was not Anil Ambani or Tata that were in business and he would bring in new players. Kejriwal tweeted asking as on whose behalf Anil Ambani is playing politics with capital’s power needs.
Kejriwal says Reliance had agreed to supply gas to utility NTPC Ltd at about $2.3 per million British thermal units (mBtu) for 17 years, but the D6 block gas was fixed at $4.2 per mBtu at the time when Deora was oil minister.
Kejriwal says Congress and BJP are silent on this matter. Moily decided to fix the pricing based on international index which could reach $8 per unit. In defense, Moily said that the manner in which pricing of oil and gas is decided is not understood by Kejriwal and it is not as simple as drawing water from the well.