FIRING A high-profile salvo in what he called was the Aam Aadmi Party’s battle against corruption, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday ordered the state government’s Anti-Corruption Branch to register FIRs against Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, former minister Murli Deora and former DG of Hydrocarbons V K Sibal in a long-running controversy over alleged irregularities in the pricing of natural gas from K G Basin.
Kejriwal also demanded the Centre put on hold the move to raise gas prices from April 1 until the probe was completed.
His allegations against a serving and a former Congress cabinet minister and one of India’s top industrialists follow his targeting of power distribution firms belonging to Mukesh Ambani’s brother Anil Ambani’s business group, Congress’s previous chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Last month, he also released a list of 28 prominent politicians who he alleged were corrupt. The list included Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and 13 others from the party that supports Kejriwal’s AAP in the Delhi Assembly.
The chief minister said his move was prompted by a complaint his office received from former cabinet secretary of India T S R Subramanian, former expenditure secretary E A S Sarma, retired admiral R H Tahiliani and advocate Kamini Jaiswal.
Moily hit-back at Kejriwal saying gas prices were fixed on the advice of experts.
“I think I should sympathise with his ignorance. He should know how the government functions, how these things are done. You should know that I took special interest to ensure
that CNG and PNG prices were reduced,” Moily said. “He thinks that it’s just like taking water through a bucket from a well. He cannot take oil like that.”
Reliance said the Delhi government decision was shocking.
“The complaint and each of the allegations on the basis of which the Delhi government has taken such action are completely baseless and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever,” it said in a statement.
“The allegations appear to have been made by persons who are also petitioners in the Supreme Court of India in a petition in which similar allegations have been made. The issue of gas pricing is also a contentious issue between the contracting parties being the Government of India and the contractors,” it said.
“We deny these irresponsible allegations and propose to resort to the available legal remedies to protect our reputation and preserve the pioneering efforts and investment