Citizens' Issues
Hindustan Petroleum whistleblowers not reinstated even a year after HC order

No one held guilty in the faulty petroleum adulterant marker case

recently reported about the plight of a whistleblower, who took on Indian Oil Corporation, but has not been compensated fully despite a judicial victory. He is not alone, though. Whistleblowers at Hindustan Petroleum, after almost a year, are still similarly unemployed and their plight ignored.

In August 2010, the Bombay High Court upheld the complaint made against the authenticity of an adulterant marker, which the government had purchased at extraordinarily high rates from a UK firm. HPCL officials Ravi Srivastava and Ashok Singh lost their jobs in 2008, when they blew the lid on the issue. Though the court order vindicated their stand, they have neither been compensated financially, nor reinstated in their jobs.

A message from Moneylife to HPCL on this issue has not been answered.

"We are still without jobs," said Mr Srivastava, "just doing some work with some consultants here and there. No compensation, no prestige." To add insult to injury, in November 2010 Mr Srivastava's RTI query to the oil ministry about the status of the Authentix marker revealed that 'the inquiry is still in progress'.

"It has been proved that this adulterant marker could be easily tampered. The CBI has also registered a case against MS Srinivasan, the then secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, Authentix and their Indian agent SGS, and several officials from oil companies like Bharat Petroleum, HPCL and Indian Oil. What is left to be proved," Mr Srivastava asked.

A marker is a coloured chemical, which if added to substances like kerosene or naptha, can be visually detected if these are mixed with petroleum for adulteration. The government, in order to stop massive adulteration by addition of kerosene allocated to PDS, asked all oil companies to add a supposedly infallible marker from Authentix in kerosene and other cheap fuels in 2006.

Mr Srivastava and his colleague were serving as treasurer and president of the Oil Sector Officers' Association (OSOA), when in May 2008 they received complaints from various corners that there were 'serious irregularities in procurement, specification and implementation' of the policy on this particular marker.

The officers investigated the matter, and discovered that the marker could be got rid of easily with clay and other ordinary lab chemicals. A website named conducted a survey at several petrol pumps, depots and oil-cargo ferries, and concluded that the marker had fared pretty badly. The government had also struck a benevolent deal with Authentix, via their Indian agents SGS, and the marker was purchased at Rs13,000 per litre without any chemical specifications. No wonder, Authentix listed the deal as the "largest fuel adulterant marking contract in history" on their website.

When they pointed out the flaws with the marker, Mr Singh was fired first, and Mr Srivastava was stripped of all facilities, accommodation and perquisites. Later, when the officers protested against the arbitrary appointment of a non-employee to a high position, Mr Srivastava was accused of 'instigating other officers' and fired from his job.

In 2008, the duo approached the chief vigilance commissioner, who refused to grant them protection as whistleblowers, treating them as ordinary complainants. A year later, CNN-IBN reported their story and exposed Authentix's dubious reputation abroad. In April 2010, Simpreet Singh, activist, filed a writ petition against the oil ministry's extravagant favour granted to Authentix. During the hearing, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also released a report that showed there were many lapses in the process, and that the government had awarded the contract to Authentix without inviting a global tender.

The Bombay High Court upheld the whistleblowers' complaints. However, they received no compensation. "Neither Murli Deora who was the minister then, nor other government officials, nor the companies were punished. And, the inquiry on Authentix marker is still 'in progress'. Why would anyone risk their necks to point out discrepancies then," he said.

Fuel adulteration has reached worrying proportions, and the oil mafia has got more entrenched. In January, Yashwant Sonawane, additional collector, was burnt alive when he tried to investigate an instance of fuel theft. If the government chooses to ignore the calls from within the industry and does not protect the whistleblowers, the perils will intensify.



Money life

3 years ago

वन्दे मातरम साथियों.
आशा करता हूँ आप को मेरा पहला मेल मिला होगा.
उस मेल में मैंने एक फाइल attach कर के भेजी थी.
क्या था उस फाइल में?
वोह फाइल आम आदमी पार्टी के रवि श्रीवास्तव के कोर्ट केस के बारे में है.
आप लोग सोच रहे होंगे की ऐसा क्या है उस फाइल में?कई लोगों ने लिखा के उन्हें ३७ पन्ने पढने में कठिनाई हो रही है.

साथियों,आप लोगों ने श्री रवि श्रीवास्तव को कई बार टीवी और प्रेस मैं आम आदमी पार्टी के मंच से यह कहते हुए देखा होगा की ...

वह भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठाने के कारन अपनी नौकरी से निकले गए.
उन्होंने HPCL में पेट्रोलियम मार्कर स्कैम का खुलासा किया जिसके कारन उन्हें नौकरी से निकाला गया.
उन्होंने मुरली डोरा (पेट्रोलियम मिनिस्टर ) को भ्रष्टाचार करते हुए पकड़ा,इसी लिए उन्हें नौकरी से निकाला गया.
वे भी अशोक खेमका की तरह 'व्हिस्त्लेब्लोवेर' हैं और इसी के कारन उन्हें नौकरी से निकाला गया.

साथियों,मेरी जोड़ी गयी फाइल को पढने के बाद यह सारी दलीलें साफ़ साफ़ कारिज की जा सकती हैं .इस केस की फाइल अगर आप पढेंगे तो आप को यह नज़र आयेगा की...

रवि सिरवास्तव HPCL के कर्मचारी थे.उस समय पर वोह सीनियर मेनेजर (operations) थे.
रवि श्रीवास्तव HPCL में एक एसोसिएशन (HP-MSA) के treasurar थे (1995 से).इस एसोसिएशन में उनके ऊपर श्री सिंह थे.
HPCL और colas,france के बीच में एक जॉइंट वेंचर हुआ.
उस जॉइंट वेंचर में संजय ग्रोवर नाम के एक व्यक्ति को चेयरमैन बनाया गया.
संजय ग्रोवर की नियुक्ति से HP-MSA के लोग खुश नहिं थे कयुनकि उनके मुतबिक,सनजय गरोवेर HP से e grade कि पगार से इसतिफ़अ देकर hincol में g/h grade की पगार पे नियुक्त किये जा रहे थे.
२८-४-२००८:HPMSA ने एक एग्जीक्यूटिव समिति की बैठक बुलाई,जिसमे यह निर्णय लिया गया की अगर संजय ग्रोवर की जगह किसी और HP के जूनियर स्टाफ को अप्पोइंत नहीं किया गया तो वे लोग आन्दोलन करेंगे.
२/५/२००८- श्री संजय ग्रोवर को अप्पोइंत किया गया.
५.५.२००८ -HR हेड ने HPMSA से कहा की सारी बातें चेयरमैन के सामने रक्खी जाएँगी जब वे अपने दौरे से वापस आ जायेंगे.HR ने सभी एम्प्लाइज से अपील की के वे लोग स्ट्राइक पे न जाएँ.उन्होंने यह भी याद दिलाया की डिप्टी कमिश्नर ऑफ़ लेबर ने नोटिस दिया है की ये स्ट्राइक गैर क़ानूनी होगी.
६-५-२००८:रवि श्रीवास्तव अपने कंप्यूटर से मेल भेजते हैं की स्ट्राइक होगी.यह मेल उनके ip एड्रेस से trace किया जाता है.
६-५-२००८:ऑफिसर स्ट्राइक पे जाते हैं.
७-५-२००८:रवि श्रीवास्तव को chargesheet दी जाती है की उन्होंने गैर कानूनी ढंग से लोगों को स्ट्राइक पर जाने को बोला .उनके खिलाफ नौकरी से निकालने की प्रतिक्रिया शुरू की जाती है.
११.६.२००८:रवि श्रीवास्तव HPMSA (एसोसिएशन) के नोटिस बोर्ड पर एक टेक्निकल रिपोर्ट पेस्ट करते हैं.इस टेक्निकल रिपोर्ट में पेट्रोलियम मार्कर के टेस्ट रिजल्ट दिखाए जाते हैं.
३०.७.२००८:रवि श्रीवास्तव को एक अंदरूनी डॉक्यूमेंट को नोटिस बोर्ड पे डालने के लिए नोटिस दिया जाता है.
१६.७.२००८:रवि श्रीवास्तव अपने ऊपर पहली chargesheet का जवाब देते हैं.
एक महीने के अन्दर association HPMSA के १६०० से अधिक मेम्बर एसोसिएशन से रिजाइन करते हैं.
१२.५.२००८:श्रीवास्तव और सिंह ,(HPMSA) के चेयरमैन, सीबीआई में कंप्लेंट करते हैं की पेट्रोलियम मार्कर की खरीद में भारी धांधली हुई है.उनकी कंप्लेंट स्वीकार ली जाती है.

अगर आप ऊपर का घटना क्रम पढेंगे तो देखेंगे की:
१.जब तक श्रीवास्तव के खिलाफ निकालने की कारवाही नहीं की गयी,तब तक उन्होंने किसी धांधली का खुलासा नहीं किया.
२.जैसे ही उनके ऊपर नौकरी से निकाले की कारवाही की गयी,एक महीने के अन्दर उन्होंने खुलासे करने शुरू कर दिए.
३.पेट्रोलियम मार्कर को २००६ में HP ने ख़रीदा था.इसका मतलब की श्रीवास्तव जो टेक्निकल रिपोर्ट का खुलासा कर रहे थे,वह रिपोर्ट कम से कम दो साल पुराणी थी.
४.उनके ऊपर यह भी आरोप हैं की उन्होंने गैर कानूनी ढंग से कंपनी के बारे में प्रेस रिलीज़ ज़ारी किया और चेयरमैन के ऊपर गंभीर आरोप लगाये जिनका कोई वजूद नहीं था.यह मेल उन्होंने प्रेस और चैनल्स को भेजा.

दोस्तों..ज़रा सोचिये...जो इंसान अपने आप को करप्शन का शिकार बता रहा है,अपने आप को 'whistleblower बता रहा है और आम आदमी पार्टी के प्लेटफार्म का उपयोग कर रहा है और कह रहा है की उनके मुरली डोरा के खिलाफ केस की वजह से उन्हें नौकरी से निकला ,वोह वास्तव में कोई whistleblower है ही नहीं.यह बहुत ही गंभीर मामला है.
जब तक श्रीवास्तव कंपनी में थे,उन्होंने कभी किसी करप्शन का मामला नहीं उजागर किया.उस डेट से पहले कभी कोई एक्टिविस्ट होने का कोई रिकॉर्ड नहीं है उनका.
अगर प्रेस को यह सच पता चल गया तो कल को आम आदमी पार्टी को अंजाम भुगतना पड़ेगा.Whistleblower तो खेमका और दुर्गा शक्ति जैसे लोग हैं जो अपना जॉब दाँव पे लगा कर भ्रष्टाचार का खुलासा करते है,वे लोग नहीं जो निकाले जाने के बाद एक्टिविस्ट बन जाते हैं.


5 years ago

i finished my BE AERONAUTICAL and seeking for jobs

Dr Siddique

5 years ago

This is all rubbish. Infact the complainers themselves colluded with the miscreants/adulterators to stop the programme. I was working then with one of the OMCs. Due to the programme 1000 retail outlets were caught adulterating in the same time the OMCs only caught 5 with their survelliance. This itself spoke about the success of the programme. The media highlighted one issue and the ministry suspended the programme. The irony is that the complainers relatives and their benami petrol pumps which were caught adulterating by the technology implemented and they wanted to scuttle and derail the whole marking programme.

Media must do a complete check before publishing such articles.


5 years ago

because the media is currently busy outdoin itself on lokpal. existing institutions itself arent deliverimg and they want a new one! if laws are implemented fast even current setup can deliver. judicial process needs to be hastened and financiql frauds considered very serious and not some ordinary fraud where people get away withntransfs suspemsions and penalty. media largely is not doing any servicento the country. they r sellng what is sellable today. root causes of corruption inall stratas of society , is not being discussed on any tv channel and very few print

Pravinkumar Padwalkar

5 years ago

Hats off to U guys for publishing this article.I'm surprised why the media is not bringing up up this vigorously like other corruption cases.Is there any corner left in public sector where you
can find loyality??

Value buying: A bear market bottom…

If the market goes down, when should you step in?

Except under abnormal market conditions, the Sensex moves in a P/E band of 13-22. When the expected earnings growth is strong, investors rush into stocks, bidding market P/E to 22+. When there are tremendous headwinds to corporate earnings, earnings may still grow, but stock prices would come down and the Sensex P/E will get compressed to around 12-13.

In case of extreme mania, the P/E can shoot to double these levels too. It happened during the Harshad Mehta scam in 1992 and again in 1994 when the foreign institutional investors ‘discovered’ India and threw all caution to the winds taking the market P/E to 57. Conversely, when pessimism is extreme, or there is an extraneous shock, the market P/E can come down to below 10 based on the expected EPS. It has at least happened thrice in the past 20 years—in November 1998 (during the Asian crisis), in May 2004 (when the BJP-led government was voted out) and once in October 2008 (during the US meltdown).

Where are we now on the valuation count? For FY11-12, we expect the Sensex EPS to be around Rs1,150, based on a 10% rise in EPS next year, factoring in all the current macroeconomic problems. This translates into a P/E of 16.1. The market is not expensive but is not cheap either, especially since earnings growth will be only 10%. Expect the Sensex to be trading in a band of 23,000 (P/E of 20), if earnings seem to bounce back to a 20% range and 15,000 (P/E of 13), if things worsen further. 



Shiv Kumar

5 years ago

Is the Sensex P/E calculation based on a standalone or consolidated earnings? It it is standalone, the calculations may not be all that accurate.

Here's what blogger and market watcher Deepak Shenoy's got to say:

"But a recent bit of research has led me to the conclusion that all is not right on the mathematical front. The problem is in the kind of earnings that the index owners use to calculate the P/E.

Companies report different kinds of earnings. At one level they report the results of the company itself, called the standalone results. And then, they announce consolidated results that includes earnings of subsidiaries, appropriately adjusted if the company owns less than 100% stake."

RBI rate hike triggers off another round of interest rate increases for consumers

Over the past one year, the RBI has embarked on an ambitious inflation management programme, raising key rates consistently, but with little success so far. A sustained continuation of monetary transmission into higher lending rates could impact both consumption and investment demand

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday raised its short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates by 0.25%, clearly choosing inflation control as its main focus that would certainly have some downside risks to economic growth. According to economists and industry experts, the move will put further pressure on financial institutions like banks, to increase deposit rates as well as auto, home and commercial loans.

"While inflation control may remain their (RBI's) bias, growth rate below a threshold will also worry them," said KVS Manian, group head for consumer banking at Kotak Mahindra Bank. "The latest figure on auto sales, general trends in home sales and the preliminary direct (advance) and indirect tax numbers do not allow us to dismiss growth worries. And lastly, given the global commodity prices, there may be a new normal to inflation and it may not entirely be controllable by monetary policy."

In its monetary review, the central bank, however, kept its cash reserve ratio (CRR), the cash which banks are required to keep with the RBI, and the bank rate unchanged. The repo rate now stands at 7.5%. The reverse repo rate will be 100 basis points (bps) lower than the repo rate at 6.5%.

Amar Ambani, head-research for private client group at India Infoline, said, "The RBI raised the repo rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 7.5%, choosing price stability in the growth-inflation trade-off. China raising rates too added credence to the RBI decision to hike rates further. While the news seem factored in the market pricing, we see pressure building on consumption plays, autos and select banks too."

Despite 425 bps of effective tightening, inflation, as measured by both the wholesale and consumer indices remains elevated at over 9% levels. "While, so far, there is not a great deal of moderation in credit growth and industrial activity, especially in the light of the revamped Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data, a sustained continuation of monetary transmission into higher lending rates could impact both consumption and investment demand," said Deven Sangoi, head for equity, Birla Sun Life Insurance.

The RBI said it expects the policy action to contain inflation and anchor inflationary expectations by reining in demand side pressures and mitigate the risk to growth from potentially adverse global developments. "The monetary policy stance remains firmly anti-inflationary, recognising that, in the current circumstances, some short-run deceleration in growth may be unavoidable in bringing inflation under control," the central bank said.

Sonal Varma, vice-president and India economist at Nomura, said, "In our opinion, this tug-of-war between growth and inflation will intensify. The slowdown that started with industry and weakened investments is feeding into services with moderation in consumer durables. Despite more than 400 bps of effective tightening over a 14-month span, the wholesale price index (WPI) inflation has remained high at 9.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) in May, compared to 10.5% a year ago, raising the question of why rate hikes have not yet been effective."

The RBI has been waging a war against inflation, but its year-long efforts don't seem to be having the desired impact. On the other hand, there has been some moderation in the economy. During the January-March quarter, the gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by only 7.8%, the slowest pace of growth in the last five quarters. At the same time, factory output-as measured by the IIP-grew by only 6.3% in April, as against 13.1% same period last fiscal.

Pradeep Jain, chairman, Parsvnath Developers, said, "Inflation continues to remain high despite the RBI raising lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates. We request the central bank to make provisions so as to increase the supply in the market. These increases in key rates are having an impact on growth and the repeated rate hikes have led to dwindling investment, which in turn, has led to a slowdown in economic expansion." Mr Jain is also chairman of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI).

Echoing this view, Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle India, said, "Purchasing activity had already dropped visibly during the last tranche of interest rate hikes, and we will see a further drop in buyer interest now." Elaborating on the effects of the latest rate hike on the real estate business, he said, "The RBI's hiking of the repo rate by 25 basis points is far from good news for the real estate sector, especially in terms of housing. As for developers coming down on their prices to counter the negative effects of this hike, a lot depends on the financial ability of individual developers to hold on to their current pricing and risk losing sales till the situation improves. Developers with enough capital base are less likely to relent on pricing than smaller developers with an urgent need to sell their stock."

The rate hike would also affect the automobile industry, as it would dampen demand. Pawan Goenka, president, Auto & Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), and president of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), told the Press Trust of India that the RBI's move will have a negative impact on the industry. "It (the rate hike) was expected... Now we would like to see how much banks pass the burden (on to customers)," he said.

Dilip Modi, president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), said, "High input prices, rising finance costs and global uncertainties are adding to the negative sentiment. All these factors, in a high interest rate environment, will most certainly put the brakes on new investments and put corporate India in a difficult position to maintain the growth momentum."

Over the past year, the RBI has undertaken a highly ambitious inflation management programme, raising key rates consistently, but the results are not really visible yet. There has been an effective increase of 425 bps from a low of 3.25% (reverse repo rate) in the January-March quarter of 2010, to the current repo rate of 7.5%. This clearly shows the limitations of the Centre in taming inflation and economist feel that the government also needs to take other strong measures, like ensuring a proper public distribution system for key food articles, and crack down on hoarders as a measure to control inflation.

Dr Veena Mishra, chief economist, Mahindra Group, said, "Domestic growth has clearly moderated compared to a year ago, but this is, in my view, more the result of policy inaction on the part of the government rather than the monetary actions of the RBI. Without further policy reforms, a stable 'high growth-low inflation' trajectory just will not materialize."

The RBI has been downplaying growth concerns, due to the continued upside risks of inflation. These emanate from an incomplete pass-through of fuel prices, a possible hike in coal and electricity prices and high commodity prices on a year-on-year basis. "WPI inflation has remained high at 9.1% y-o-y in May. One reason is that fiscal policy, by raising farm support prices and boosting rural incomes, is offsetting the impact of higher rates. Therefore, there is an asymmetric impact of tight policy, with investment falling, while consumption demand is less affected. Additionally, the WPI basket is dominated by commodities and even the RBI's measure of core inflation-non-food manufactured WPI-is a mix of input and output prices. So, unless commodity prices ease, inflation should persist," said Ms Varma from Nomura.

Economists and analysts suggest that a good monsoon and moderation in commodity prices, as well as the global growth outlook, would determine the RBI's policy over the next few months. A majority of them expect inflation to stay elevated till September and that the central bank will hike rates by another 25 bps on 26th July. The RBI may feel that if it cannot control commodity prices, it can cut pricing power by squeezing demand, however, for consumers, especially borrowers, it can only mean more bad news.



Sudhakar Kulkarni

5 years ago

RBI credit policy has became very much predictable, since last one year we have seen only upward revision in both repo and reverse repo, who gets worst affected, only the common man, economist and bankers just debate over the same.

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