The Centre has moved the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the AAP government’s FIR regarding gas prices against petroleum minister Veerappa Moily, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and two others. It has also sought that the Delhi government's anti-corruption branch be restrained from going ahead with the probe.
Others in the FIR are former petroleum minister Murli Deora and former DG-Hydrocarbons VK Sibal.
RIL had earlier moved the court with a similar plea. The petition filed by the Centre will come up for hearing on Friday.
The FIR registered by the state's anti-corruption branch covers a gas-pricing formula approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in June 2013, as per which the domestic gas price could have doubled from $4.2 per unit effective April 1, 2014. The price hike has not taken effect so far because of the EC’s decision to defer it.
The FIR was registered on the ground that most of the alleged offences, including the decision to finalise the price hike, were committed in Delhi, and the investigation, therefore, could be conducted by the ACB.
Earlier on May 2, RIL had asked the High Court to quash the FIR on the ground that the issue fell within the domain of the centre and was well beyond the power of the state government. After hearing the argument that the FIR was “motivated” and a “political gimmick”, the court put up the matter for further hearing on May 20.
Taking the same line of argument, the Centre has contended that by registering the FIR the Delhi government was "seeking to investigate decisions in regard to gas price fixation which fall in the exclusive domain of the Central government". It said that the public order and police have been specifically excluded from the domain of the legislative assembly of the Delhi Government.
Additionally, the Centre has argued that the ACB is not competent to investigate the allegations leveled. The plea adds that there was “total non-application of mind” on the part of Arvind Kejriwal in directing the registration of the FIR by the ACB without considering the competence and jurisdiction of the agency to do it.