The AAP government had ordered an FIR against RIL Chairperson Mukesh Ambani, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, former minister Murli Deora and ex director-general hydrocarbons VK Sibal under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to double gas prices in order to benefit RIL.
In a statement, the company refuted the charges levelled by AAP and termed them as shocking.
“The direction of the Delhi Government to order the registration of an FIR in relation to the decision of Union Cabinet to revise the price of gas is indeed shocking. The complaint and each of the allegations on the basis of which the Delhi Government has taken such action are completely baseless and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever,” RIL said.
“We deny these irresponsible allegations and propose to resort to the available legal remedies to protect our reputation and preserve the pioneering efforts and investment made by Reliance so far. We also remain fully committed to the development of oil and gas sector in India within the parameters of law,” the statement added.
“The complaint and each of the allegations on the basis of which the Delhi government has taken such action are completely baseless and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever. We deny these irresponsible allegations and propose to resort to the available legal remedies to protect our reputation and preserve the pioneering efforts and investments made by Reliance so far,” it said.
At a press conference Tuesday, Kejriwal said he had received complaints in this regard from some “eminent persons” who spoke about alleged collusion between some ministers and industrialists to create artificial shortage of gas and hike prices unnecessarily.
“We have asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau to file criminal cases against Murli Deora, Veerappa Moily, VK Sibal, Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries Ltd and others,” he said.
The Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader also demanded that the gas fields allocated to Reliance Industries in the Krishna-Godavari basin off the Andhra Pradesh coast be taken back and handed over to the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp.
He said he would also raise the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and call for a further hike in gas prices from April 1 to be kept in abeyance — after the company was allowed to charge a higher rate of around $4 per unit a couple of years ago.
“The gas lobby has bribed both the Congress and the opposition parties. Why are they keeping quiet?” Kejriwal queried. He said if Reliance Industries was allowed to hike the prices from April 1, it will enjoy a bonanza of Rs.54,000 crore.
The Chief Minister also maintained that it was within his rights to call for a probe.
“The Delhi government says it (the matter) is under the purview of the Anti Corruption Bureau or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the pricing was decided in Delhi and complaint is filed here,” he said.
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken later said that the party was not against an inquiry.
“The only two things should be clearly looked at – first whether it is political vendetta and, secondly, is it within constitutional jurisdiction. We hope Delhi government would have taken care of these two parameters,” he said.
Veerappa Moily also responded. He said, “We should sympathise with his (Kejriwal’s) ignorance. He does not know how the government runs. Norms are followed. There is a system in fixing prices.