Refuting the allegations of favouring Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) over extraction of natural gas from the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily has requested the Supreme Court to remove his name as a party from a PIL, filed by CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta against the government’s decision to double the gas price.
Moily, who was in July issued a notice by a bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, has trashed the accusations of bias, saying he was made a party to the case only to “sensationalise the issue and to draw political mileage” and that his name should be deleted from the array of parties.
The minister has also dubbed as “defamatory” a statement in the PIL that Moily was inducted in the cabinet to do “Reliance bidding.”
Moily denied Dasgupta’s contention that he stalled the arbitration between the RIL and the oil ministry to prevent the recovery of $1.005 billion from the company over a steep fall in gas output from its KG-D6 block in May last year.
Moily claimed he never pressurised Rangarajan Committee to come out in favour of a new formula for fixing the price of natural gas, leading to a near doubling of prices to around $8.4 per million British thermal units (mmBtu).
He said that the committee was constituted by the Prime Minister’s Office before he was given the petroleum ministry portfolio and he neither re-constituted it nor altered its terms of references.