With CAG alleging that Reliance Industries was delaying furnishing of records for audit, the Oil Ministry has ordered the firm to provide records “as early as possible“.

“The Ministry has taken seriously the issue raised by Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) in audit of KG—D6 block... Office of CAG has informed the Ministry that out of 96 audit requisition issued by them, reply of 28 are either not received or are partially received,” Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Panabaaka Lakshmi said.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, she said RIL has responded that the pending information was being collected and would be provided when it was ready.

“Audit of KG—D6 block is a time bound process, therefore, ministry has directed on July 22 to RIL to provide record as early as possible as agreed by RIL to provide the same earlier,” she added.

CAG Principal Director of Audit (Economic and Service Ministries) A M Bajaj in the July 3 letter to the ministry stated that RIL was providing information sought in phases and some records sought were still pending.

CAG, at the request of the oil ministry, is auditing KG—D6 spending for 2008—09 to 2011—12. It restarted the audit in April after issues like scope and extent of its scrutiny were resolved.

“Initially, there were certain issues being raised by the operator i.e. RIL relating to scope and coverage of audit to be conducted by the CAG. Due to this, there was a delay in taking up the audit,” Lakshmi said.

RIL had previously stated that CAG cannot contractually perform a performance audit on it and Production Sharing Contract (PSC) only provides for a government appointed auditor to verify reasonableness of all charges and credits.

CAG too has stated that it is not planning to a do a performance audit of the company but only wants to examine “propriety” of expenses made. For doing that CAG has been given the discretion of requisitioning records as it deems fit.

(This article was published on August 6, 2013)
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