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Opening a whole new front, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today ordered filing of an FIR against Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, former minister Murli Deora and Reliance Industries (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani for alleged collusion in the hike in prices of natural gas from KG basin.
Asking the Centre to put on hold the decision to hike price of gas, to be implemented from April 1, he told a press conference that the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) of his Government has been asked to file a criminal case under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Kejriwal, whose government survives on Congress support, has been needling the party by launching probes into alleged corruption in Commonwealth Games projects and other issues. But this is the first decision in which he has sought to target ministers at the Centre and a high-profile corporate.
Former DG, Hydrocarbons, V K Sibal and RIL will also be arraigned in the case which will be based on a "common complaint" filed by former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subrmanian, Admiral former Navy Chief Admiral R H Tahiliani, eminent lawyer Kamini Jaiswal and former Union Secretary EAS Sarma.
Alleging collusion between ministers, officials and RIL, Kejriwal said the details in the complaint were "shocking" and were an assault on the country's economic sovereignty amounting to anti-national activity.
Quoting from the complaint, the Chief Minister said the impact of the hike in gas price would cost the country a minimum of Rs 54,500 crore every year and allow RIL to make a future windfall profit of Rs 1.2 lakh crore.
Attacking Kejriwal as "ignorant", Moily said he did not know how government functions. He said fixing of price of petroleum products is done as per expert advice.
"I think I should sympathise with his ignorance. He should know how the government functions, how these things are done...I took special interest to ensure that the CNG and PNG prices are reduced. You should know that," he said.
However, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, who has challenged the price hike decision in the Supreme Court, welcomed Kejriwal's decision. Reliance Industries Ltd declined to comment.
The Chief Minister said hiking the price of natural gas will have a "cascading effect" on the economy as rates of transportation, power production, fertilisers and food items will go up significantly.
"I am writing to Prime Minister and the Oil Minister to kept the decision in abeyance pending the probe. I