Oil-for-food: Centre says it is not shielding Reliance
The Centre informed the court that the ED had initiated probe into the company's alleged role in the Iraqi oil-for-food programme.india Updated: May 04, 2006 20:24 IST
Denying charges that it was shielding the Reliance Petroleum Limited, the Centre on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that the Enforcement Directorate had initiated investigations into the company's alleged role in the Iraqi oil-for-food programme as referred to in the Volcker Committee report.
Responding to a PIL filed on the issue, the Finance Ministry, in an affidavit submitted to the court, said the Enforcement Directorate had recorded statements of senior functionaries of Reliance Industries and further investigations were under progress.
The investigations pertained to suspected violation of provisions of FEMA by Indian persons and entities referred to in the Volcker Committee report.
"The action of the Government to exclude any company from the purview of the Justice RS Pathak Inquiry Authority is not biased nor arbitrary and once the inquiry, conducted by the EC, is over, suitable proceedings, if any, will be initiated under FEMA against those who have violated the provisions," the Centre said.
Quoting the Volcker Report, the affidavit submitted by VP Arora, Under Secretary, Finance Ministry, said the Reliance Petroleum Limited was allocated five lakh barrels of oil, but the company lifted 2,832,811 barrels without making payment of surcharge.
On the issue of lifting of oil as a non-contractual beneficiary, the company would face investigations under relevant laws, the Government said.
Since the company was issued separate contracts in the categories of contractual and non-contractual companies, the Government of India had shown the company as non-contractual beneficiary in replies submitted in the Rajya Sabha, the affidavit said.
However, the Centre denied that exclusion of the company from the purview of Justice RS Pathak Inquiry Authority was biased or arbitrary as alleged in the PIL.