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CBI starts probe on ex-DGH

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started its investigations into the alleged nexus between the former Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), V.K. Sibal and private parties including Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

business Updated: Mar 10, 2010 21:30 IST
HT Correspondent

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started its investigations into the alleged nexus between the former Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), V.K. Sibal and private parties including Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

In its letter (dated February 11) to the petroleum ministry, CBI has sought complete details including “all files and full note sheets” pertaining to all oil and gas exploration blocks in which RIL was granted extension by the petroleum ministry and the DGH beyond original schedules.

The CBI has also asked for details of smiliar extensions given to the public sector oil and gas major, ONGC.

ONGC’s decision to hire ultra-deep water drilling rigs from RIL in June 2009, at close to Rs 4,000 crore, has already faced an enquiry from the Central Vigilance Commission.

The CBI, which has already charged Sibal with “gross abuse and misuse of public office”, has now asked the ministry to submit “files pertaining to initiation and processing of vigilance enquiry by CVC against (the then DGH) V.K. Sibal.”

In the case of RIL, the central investigating agency has asked the petroleum ministry to submit details on the approvals granted by it to RIL for revising capital expenditure costs for its D6 gas fields in the Krishna Godavari basin.

“Files pertaining to approval in grant of capital expenditure from $2.4 billion (Rs 11,040 crore) to $8.8 billion (Rs 40,480 crore) with respect to RIL KG D6 fields” have been urgently sought by the CBI for further investigations, as per the letter.

Both RIL and ONGC’s spokespersons refused to comment. CBI spokesperson Harsh Bahl said, “These are internal communications between the department and the ministry and we don’t comment on it.”

The drilling rigs hired by ONGC from Reliance have also come under CBI’s scanner. “The file pertaining to processing of hiring of oil rigs by ONGC for 2007-09 are urgently required,” CBI said in its letter to the petroleum ministry.