Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi attacked the government over the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on oil and gas deal.
The report had alleged a scam in the ‘inflated’ pricing of gas (from the Krishna-Godawari basin) that ‘benefited’ private players like Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and led to higher prices of gas and power for the common man.
“Is the content of the draft CAG report, as reported by the media, correct? When did you get the draft report? How long will you take to vet it?”
Joshi sought to know from the oil ministry.
Questioning the oil ministry’s argument that it needs time to study the draft CAG report on whether government officials allowed Mukesh Ambani-led RIL show higher expenses on oil production to make windfall profit, Joshi said, “Before the draft report, the CAG sends a detailed questionnaire raising its doubts on each point… These comments are incorporated in the draft report.”
He said the oil ministry’s contention that it needs to read the draft was misleading.
Joshi said a group of ministers allowed RIL to charge a price of $4.2 for gas when ONGC was selling the same gas for $1.8 per unit.
“What was the justification for the formula (under which gas was valued?) Under what pressure did the EGoM take these decisions? How much losses were caused by this to the government,” Joshi asked.
“This is not countering corruption, but encouraging the corrupt,” he said. He also demanded the resignation of the then finance minister (now home minister) P Chidambaram over the latest scam. Joshi also wondered how the CAG draft report leaked, saying it could be a case of breach of privilege.