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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Kejriwal questions Modi’s silence on gas pricing

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 21, 2014
First Published: 13:19 IST(21/2/2014) | Last Updated: 02:03 IST(22/2/2014)

Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday continued his attack on BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and asked him to come clean on the gas price hike issue involving Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani.

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In the open letter to Modi, the AAP questioned the BJP prime ministerial candidate's stand on the price hike which it alleges favours Reliance.

According to the party, while the cost of extracting the oil is not more than a dollar per unit the government pays Reliance $4 dollar per unit meaning that the country faces a loss of Rs. 54,000 crore annually. And from April this year, the prices will rise up to $8 per unit resulting in rise of prices of CNG, fertilisers and electricity among others.

"The AAP government filed an FIR against Mukesh Ambani on allegations that some of the ministers at the Centre lobbied to increase gas prices to enable Ambani to earn substantial profit.

Both Modi and Rahul Gandhi are silent on it. They need to break their silence," Kejriwal said.

He also wondered whether they were quiet because of their close relations with Mukesh Ambani.

"Parimal Nathvani, the group president of the Mukesh Ambani companies, was recently elected to Rajya Sabha with your help. This creates suspicion over your relations with Mukesh Amabani. What is your relation with Mukesh Ambani?" the letter added.

Kejriwal also asked him to make the election expenses of the BJP public and also name the people who fund the party's election campaign.

Kejriwal alleged that the UPA government is being run by Mukesh Ambani and questioned if Modi comes to power, would his government be also steered by the RIL chairman.

"You are a prime ministerial candidate, but why are you still quiet over the issue. A common man wants to know whether if your party forms government and you become the prime minister, would you bring down the gas price from $8 per unit to $4?" said Kejriwal at a press conference in Delhi's Constitution Club.

"You in your speeches talk about bringing back the money from Swiss banks, but the Ambani brothers have money in these banks. If you have good relations with the Ambanis and if they fund you, then would you bring back the black money," he said.

The former Delhi chief minister questioned the election funding of the Congress party as well.

"Helicopters and private jets are being used whenever you and Rahul Gandhi travel within the country and abroad. As per the news reports, the aircraft services you and Rahul Gandhi use are free of cost. Spending in your election rallies are worth crores of rupees. Some people say Mukesh Ambani funds you. Is that true?" he said.

A First Information Report or FIR accusing Ambani, petroleum minister Veerappa Moily and other policy-makers of creating an artificial shortage of gas in the country and raising its prices was filed last week on the orders of Kejriwal before he resigned as Delhi chief minister on Friday.

Read: Anil Ambani, Mukesh Ambani firms' exec meet L-G

Kejriwal also accused the BJP and the Congress of colluding to oppose his jan lokpal bill in retaliation against the FIR.

"They defeated the bill because three days back we lodged an FIR against Mukesh Ambani," he said.

Kejriwal said he will write a similar letter to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday and distribute it to all over the country.

(With PTI inputs)


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