Scrap Saudi Aramco deal over Crown Prince's comments in Pakistan: Maharashtra Congress

Saudi Aramco and an Indian consortium consisting of IOCL, BPCL and HPCL had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in April last year to jointly develop and build Ratnagiri Refinery.

Published: 20th February 2019 01:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2019 01:13 AM   |  A+A-


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed by PM Modi at Delhi airport on 19 February 2019. (Photo | Narendra Modi/ Twitter)


MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Congress Tuesday demanded the Centre scrap an agreement with Aramco for a proposed refinery project in the state alleging that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's comments in Pakistan after the Pulwama attack had "rubbed salt on the wounds of Indians".

Saudi Aramco and an Indian consortium consisting of IOCL, BPCL and HPCL had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April last year to jointly develop and build Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals (RRPCL), an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex, in the Maharashtra's Konkan region.

The USD 44 billion project is, however, popularly known as Nanar (proposed site) refinery in Maharashtra's political discourse.

READ | PM Modi greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Delhi airport with a hug

Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant made the demand even as the crown prince is scheduled to reach India Tuesday night and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

The crown prince, colloquially known as MBS, was in Islamabad on February 17.

Sawant said Saudi Arabia signed a slew of investment agreements worth USD 20 billion with Pakistan even after a terror outfit based in that country, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), carried out an attack in Pulwama on February 14 killing 40 CRPF troopers.

"He (crown prince) also said there (in Pakistan) that he is Pakistan's self-declared ambassador. This is like rubbing salt on the wounds of Indians," Sawant told reporters here.

He claimed the prince had also stated that the list of terrorists should not be politicised.

READ HERE | As BJP wins over sulking Shiv Sena, Nanar oil refinery project to be relocated

Sawant claimed it meant Saudi Arabia had opposed India's demand to declare JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar a terrorist.

"In such a case, an agreement is being signed with Saudi Arabia for the refinery project. It is our demand that the agreement be scrapped immediately," Sawant said.

"The Modi government should take a firm position on this. Shifting the project from Nanar will not suffice, but the agreement itself has to be scrapped," he added.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had Monday announced that the proposed refinery project would be shifted elsewhere to a place "acceptable to the people".

Sawant said the decision to shift the refinery project was a victory of the locals who he claimed had been opposed to it.

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