Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Tuesday said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has used the “benefit of hindsight” to arrive at conclusions that unfairly targeted the company.
RIL presented a 250-pages point-by-point reply to CAG on its draft audit findings that charged the company with irregularities in developing India’s largest gas field, the KG-D6 in Andhra Pradesh.
Reliance’s executive director PMS Prasad, who led the company’s team at the CAG’s exit conference, refused to comment after the meeting. He spent over an hour with the CAG team and are learnt to have refuted most of the charges made by the auditor.
The company’s reply stated that “using the benefit of hindsight, CAG cannot question the technical and operational judgements of the operator that were in effect the best possible judgements at that time based on the best information available.”
A source close to Reliance said, “the draft CAG report had found nothing to suggest that Reliance indulged in ‘gold-plating’ — placing orders on its own affiliates at inflated costs — or that payments made to vendors came back to Reliance”.
Besides Reliance, Cairn India and UK’s BG Group too replied to audit observations on Rajasthan oilfields and Panna/Mukta and Tapti fields, respectively.
The directorate general of hydrocarbon (DGH) also submitted a 180-page reply, justifying its actions and decisions taken in the working of private operators.
CAG in its June 7 draft report said the oil ministry and its technical arm DGH favoured private firms by allowing them to retain entire exploration acreage, turning a blind eye to increase in capital expenditure and giving an additional area in violationof production sharing contract.
The auditor may take two months to compile its final report, which will then be tabled in Parliament.