The CBI has located 30 key files pertaining to extension/s of exploration period given by the petroleum and natural gas ministry to the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC).
The files contain information on the processing and approval of extension/s, beyond the Production Sharing Contract (PSC), to RIL and ONGC during 2003-09, a CBI source said.
The files — including note sheets and all correspondence on the issue — were located in the ministry's exploration division by its vigilance section as per a written request by the investigation agency.
“The petroleum ministry’s vigilance section, on receipt of our request, has gathered the 30 files — irregular extensions of exploration period given to RIL and ONGC — for forwarding to us for our probe,” said a CBI source.
The source said, “The files will give us an idea of the quantum of loss allegedly caused to the state exchequer by irregular extensions of exploration period/s, if any, and the role of officials behind the decisions.”
The CBI has filed three preliminary inquiries related to alleged favour/s given by the ministry to private and public-sector explorer.
“We will examine the final report of the CAG on this issue when it comes, apart from our findings, to decide whether or not we have the grounds to convert the three preliminary enquiries filed on the issues by us in 2009 into First Information Report/s,” the source added.
The CBI has also sought from the ministry the files related to its decision to approve an alleged hike in the expenditure incurred by the RIL for its Krishna-Godavari basin.
The CAG has questioned the approval of the hike in the expenditure and has sought the ministry’s version.
RIL, in a statement issued soon after the CAG draft report became public, had said it "has not received a copy of the aforesaid report, and hence is unable to comment on specific issues."
RIL said it has “fully complied with the requirements in the PSC at all times in conducting petroleum operations and refutes any suggestion to the contrary.”