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CVC seeks CBI inquiry against oil regulator

The Central Vigilance Commission has asked the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the alleged nexus of the petroleum sector regulator, Director General of Hydrocarbons VK Sibal, with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. HT Correspondent reports.

business Updated: Oct 05, 2009 21:51 IST

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct an inquiry into the alleged nexus of the petroleum sector regulator, Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) VK Sibal, with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

In its October 1 letter to CBI, the Commission said it has received “a source information” alleging that “Sibal, as the authority, approved a phenomenal increase in the capital expenditure from $2.4 billion (Rs 11,482 crore ) to $8.8 billion (Rs 42,100 crore) for RIL’s KG-D6 gas field between September 2006 and December 2006.”

“The allegations (against Sibal) are serious and, if substantiated, they would raise doubts about the integrity and objectivity of VK Sibal,” CVC secretary KS Ramasubban wrote to CBI director Ashwani Kumar, a copy of which has also been marked to the cabinet secretary, KM Chandrasekhar.

Other allegations, as pointed out by CVC to CBI against Sibal include flats purchased by a front company of RIL, Whitesnow Trading Company Ltd, for Sibal’s daughters besides records of emails exchanged between Sibal’s daughter —Sonia and Priya—- and RIL’s executives over purchase of white goods.

“As the term of Sibal is coming up for renewal in the end of October 2009, it is requested that a discreet field verification may be carried out and report submitted to the Commission well within time,” the CVC letter stated.

“I am not aware of any letter by CVC,” said Sibal. “These charges are rubbish and are being made to malign my image.”

“An inquiry by CVC does not mean that charges against Sibal are proved,” a senior petroleum ministry official said. “Let’s wait for the CBI’s report before drawing conclusions.” RIL refused to comment on the issue.