Union minister Vayalar Ravi today disapproved of the petrol price hike and suggested a "bold decision may be taken to reduce the recent increase".
Ravi, in a letter to petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy, questioned the claims of oil marketing companies that they are incurring huge losses and asked his cabinet colleague to scrutinise the issue in detail.
He is the second union minister after defence minister AK Antony to have expressed unhappiness at the petrol price increase. Antony had on Wednesday criticised the hike saying it was "not a correct step" and the oil companies should have shown some "propriety" before taking the decision.
"Apparently, the claim made by oil companies that they are running at a loss seems to be untrue. As a matter of fact, the expenditure of oil companies, including salaries, is among the highest in India and there is a perception that funds are being wasted," Ravi, the overseas indian affairs minister, said in the letter.
"In this backdrop, I feel a closer scrutiny is needed before deciding on any further increase in oil prices. Instead, a bold look may be taken at reducing the recent hike," he said.
Ravi cited reports that Indian Oil Corporation made a profit of Rs. 12,670 crore in January-March quarter as against the profit of Rs. 3,905 crore in the corresponding period last year.
"Similarly, BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited) have announced their net profit to Rs. 3,962 crore in January-March quarter in 2012 from Rs. 935 crore last year," he said in the letter dated May 29.
After the sharp criticism against the hike, the oil marketing companies on Saturday cut petrol price by Rs. 2.02 per litre.