Kejriwal seeks EC’s intervention on gas price hike from April 1

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 20, 2014

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a special session of the Delhi Assembly in New Delhi. File Photo.

After filing a criminal case with the Delhi anti-corruption branch and carrying out a public campaign against RIL alleging ‘collusion’ with some Congress Ministers in getting a higher gas price, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday turned to the Election Commission seeking its “urgent intervention” in the matter.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner V Sampath, Kejriwal termed the Centre’s decision to increase the price of natural gas from April 1 from the existing $4.2 per mmbtu (one million British Thermal Unit) to $8.4 billion as “a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct, since it is directly aimed at providing huge financial benefits to Reliance Industries Limited and falls within the ambit of corrupt practices during the elections”.

“It is estimated that the Government decision is likely to cost the country Rs 54,500 crore every year and it must be probed by the EC how much money has been provided by the RIL to the Congress and other parties for spending in the elections,” said the letter, which was released to the media.

The letter also refers to news reports quoting Planning Commssion Deputy Chairperson, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, on March 11, 2014, that he had told the Government that it must seek the Election Commission’s approval before announcing and implementing the new price.

“I would request you to direct the Central Government not to implement its decision till the election process in the country gets over, since it will affect a very large section of the population,” said Kejriwal.

As Chief Minister of Aam Aadmi Party’s 49-day rule in Delhi, Kejriwal had filed an FIR against RIL, two Congress leaders and others, alleging “collusion” in fixing higher gas prices in an “unjustified manner”.

Incidentally, to counter Kejriwal's allegations, ‘Team Reliance’ has been reaching out to people via text messages on mobile phones urging people to read three documents clarifying the company’s position.

Earlier, in a strong rebuttal to Kejriwal’s allegations, RIL had said it proposed to resort to legal remedies to protect its reputation.

Terming the allegations as ‘baseless’ and ‘irresponsible’, a company statement had said, “We also remain fully committed to the development of oil and gas sector in India within the parameters of law”.

“The allegations appear to have been made by persons who are also parties in the Supreme Court in a petition in which similar allegations have been made,” the RIL statement had said.

The Supreme Court is already hearing two PILs against the gas price hike by Common Cause, and NGO and CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta.

Published on March 20, 2014
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