A day after activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal levelled serious allegations of impropriety and favouritism against the UPA Government in the allotment of KG-DWN-98/3 (also called D-6) block to Reliance Industries Limited-led consortium, it was the Centre’s turn to hit back at him.
Strongly refuting allegations made by Kejriwal-led IAC, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry in a three-page statement said UPA-I and UPA-II Governments under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been consistently protecting the national interest.
“…The ministry is committed in upholding the rule of law and the decisions are taken objectively without any fear or favour. The system is not influenced or guided by whims and fancies of any individual or group of individuals,” the ministry said.
On Wednesday, Kejriwal had accused the UPA Government and its predecessor NDA of showing bias towards Mukesh Ambani’s RIL in the KG-D6 gas exploration project located off the east coast. He had alleged that successive governments in the last decade had given huge benefits to RIL despite flagrant violation of various agreements by the company.
At the centre of Kejriwal’s allegations is RIL’s demand for increase in prices of natural gas to $14.2 per mm BTU from $4.2 per mm BTU. The demand had been consistently turned down by former Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy and Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) several times in the past two years, due to which he was shunted out of the petroleum ministry Kejriwal alleged.
Following last week’s Cabinet reshuffle, Reddy is now the Science and Technology Minister. On reports of postponement of a technical meeting with Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) regarding audit of certain oil and natural gas blocks, the ministry clarified that the meeting was called officially to discuss the procedural issues of audit by the national auditor and due to certain administrative inconvenience it was postponed (well before the cabinet reshuffle).
“The postponement of the meeting will in no way affect either the procedure or the content of the audit by CAG of these blocks,” the ministry said.