New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday ordered the city’s anti-corruption wing to file criminal cases against Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily, among others, for allegedly creating artificial scarcity of natural gas and fixing prices.
Also named were Moily’s predecessor in the oil ministry, Murli Deora, and former director general of hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal.
Moily rubbished the allegation. “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,” the minister 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, V.K. 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.
“The complainants have mentioned that most of the offences, including the fixing of gas prices, were all done in Delhi. It affects the entire population of Delhi,” the chief minister added.