The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, on Wednesday, has denied a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) on India purchasing cheap Russian crude oil, saying it is misleading and a deceptive effort to tarnish India’s image, the 4th largest oil refining country globally.

“It shows a lack of understanding of global supply demand dynamics and India’s long history as a major refined products exporter,” said the Ministry in a thread on Twitter.

The Helsinki-based CREA, in a report on May 1, said India is among the top five countries, including China, that is purchasing cheap Russian crude oil and converting it into refined petroleum products, which are laundered in Europe and G7 countries.

However, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said that as a sovereign country, India is free to import or export goods and commodities within the terms of international law, and calling its legitimate business as ‘laundromat’ implies an illegal activity to which India strongly objects.

“Crude oil import below $60 from Russia or elsewhere not under any international embargo. There is also no self-embargo by ‘coalition country’ on buying Diesel 4m refiners around the world. To use word like ‘whitewashed oil’ is disingenuous at best or mischievous at worst,” it said.

It further said India meets its energy requirements through imports from multiple countries, including Russia, and India has never shied away from this fact nor is it apologetic about it as evidenced by multiple ministerial statements over the last year.

“As far as exports go, as the largest democracy and a country governed by law, companies in India are free to run their businesses as per law and the government does not put restrictions on them in their legitimate business pursuits,” it added.