Companies & Sectors
Panel faults both Reliance Industries, ONGC in gas dispute, minister promises quick action
The Justice A.P.Shah Committee on the gas migration dispute between the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Reliance Industries has faulted both the entities for errors of omission and commission, even as the government promised appropriate action by mid-September.
 
The report, made available late on Wednesday, said Reliance Industries did benefit unduly -- terming it as enrichment -- from the gas that migrated to its fields in the Krishna-Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal from those of the state-run firm.
 
But the committee also said it was not able to ascertain in clear terms if the two companies, indeed, have prior knowledge. "I wanted this to be probed further," the single-member panel said.
 
Yet, it observed, based on some reports of 2003, it appeared that Reliance Industries had prior knowledge about the connectivity, while also not bringing it to the notice of the regulator.
 
At the same time, it added, ONGC, it seemed, also had some understanding but did not act promptly, and took up the matter six years after it first obtained the relevant information.
 
"On the question of unjust enrichment, the committee concludes that the Government of India, and not ONGC, is entitled to claim restitution from Reliance Industries for the unjust benefit it received and unfairly retained," the report uploaded on the Petroleum Ministry's Web site said.
 
"ONGC has no locus standi to bring a tortious claim against Reliance Industries for trespass/conversion, since it does not have any ownership rights or possessory interest in the natural gas."
 
Soon after the report was handed over, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said his ministry would take "appropriate action" in the matter by end-September.
 
"The report has confirmed gas migration from ONGC's block to Reliance Industries' block. We will now study the report in detail and then take appropriate action before September 30," Pradhan told reporters here. "We need more time to study the report."
 
Justice Shah said it was now up to the government to act. "I have submitted a comprehensive report, which covers all the terms of reference and also suggests a future course of action," said Justice Shah, a former judge of the Delhi High Court.
 
The government had constituted the single-member committee last December under Law Commission Chairman Shah to recommend compensation to ONGC to protect the government interest, following some reports from American consultants on migrating of gas.
 
The committee was asked to submit by its report by July 31 and subsequently extended the tenure by three months.
 
The American consultants had concluded that 11.122 billion cubic meters of ONGC gas had migrated to the blocks of Reliance Industries. They said of the 58.68 billion cubic meters produced since 2009, some 49.69 billion cubic meters belonged to the private company and 8.981 billion cubic meters could have come from ONGC's side.
 
At the current gas price of $4.2 per million British thermal unit, the volume of gas belonging to ONGC which the private player has produced is worth around $1.7 billion (Rs 11,055 crore).
 
The committee also made several generic statements:
 
- The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons must become more proactive in exercising its regulatory authority.
 
- This must encompass better vigilance, more incisive technical skills, and stronger enforcement powers.
 
- This is particularly necessary in a sensitive and vital sector like petroleum.
 
- The role of ONGC in the Indian oil and natural gas sector must be assessed with great scrutiny.
 
- A mechanism is required to amicably resolve disputes among parties, as and when they arise.
 
- This will allow smoother functioning of the energy sector, and ultimately serve the nation's interests.
 
- The way the oil ministry handles the matter can chart the future course of India's energy industry.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Kejriwal removes Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar over objectionable CD
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday removed his Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar, saying he had received an "objectionable" CD on him and there cannot be any compromise with propriety in public life.
 
"Received 'objectionable' CD of minister Sandeep Kumar. AAP stands for propriety in public life that can't be compromised. Removing him from Cabinet with immediate effect," Kejriwal tweeted.
 
Soon after the action against the legislator over the alleged sex tape, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has "zero tolerance" towards any such act and action was taken within half-an-hour of receiving the CD.
 
The BJP and Congress mounted an attack on the Kejriwal government over the purported "sex CD" involving Kumar. The BJP said it will stage a protest outside Kejriwal's residence on Thursday over the issue. 
 
Sisodia told reporters that AAP was a party of principles. "We have zero tolerance against any kind of corruption, crime or any such activity," he said. 
 
"The CM received an objectionable CD of Sandeep Kumar and within half an hour, the decision to remove the minister was taken and Kumar was sacked," Sisodia said.
 
Kumar is the third minister who has been removed or forced out of the cabinet by Kejriwal since the formation of the government in February 2015. 
 
Jitender Tomar was asked to resign as Law Minister in June 2015 after he was accused of forging his college degree. In October last year, Asim Ahmed Khan was removed as Minister for Food and Environment following allegations of taking bribe from a builder.
 
There are six ministers in Delhi cabinet who hold multiple portfolios. Kumar, 36, MLA from Sultanpur Majra, also held the Women and Child Development portfolio.
 
Sisodia said his party and the government always took swift decisions whenever cases against its ministers or leaders surfaced.
 
"Earlier we had removed one of our ministers on corruption charges. Recently we removed party's Punjab convenor over charges that he took money. And today we have removed Kumar after we got the objectionable CD," Sisodia said. 
 
He warned all his party MLAs and leaders saying, "If any of the 67 MLAs or the party leaders be it Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia or anyone else is caught in activities which are against the party principles, he will not be spared," Sisodia said. 
 
Former AAP leader and eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan took potshots at Kejriwal over Kumar's removal. "Wah AK (Arvind Kejriwal) Saheb, you appoint degree forgers, bribe takers as ministers and then take credit for removing them when caught," he tweeted. 
 
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken asked why the AAP leadership had not expelled the MLAs who had been removed as ministers. 
 
"3 of 6 Ministers in AAP Govt caught for: 1.FakeDegree 2.Corruption 3MoralTurpitude. But who chose them? Why aren't they expelled from Party?," he tweeted. 
 
BJP leader Vijender Gupta said: "When they (AAP) got elected, they said we had 67 gems. Now they stand exposed." 
 
Another BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal said that there were allegations involving Kumar and "if Kejriwal did not know about them earlier, he should resign."
 
Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal said that "acts" of Sandeep Kumar were "shocking" and "unfortunate." 
 
"Such people don't deserve to be minister, let alone WCD minister! Good govt has sacked him," she tweeted. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Gujarat lawyer apologises for alleging two HC judges close to Modi, Amit Shah
The Supreme Court on Wednesday dropped contempt proceedings against senior lawyer of Gujarat High Court Yatin Narendra Oza after he tendered an "unconditional apology" for calling two high court judges close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
 
Accepting Oza's unconditional apology, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan said that the contempt proceedings before the Gujarat High Court stands dropped.
 
Tendering unqualified apology, Oza, in a fresh affidavit, said that except in the proceedings before court, he would not speak on the issue in public.
 
Contempt proceedings were initiated against Oza before the high court after he in a letter to the Chief Justice of India, he had said that Justice M.R.Shah and Justice K.S. Jhaveri owned their allegiance not to the Constitution of the country but same was "mortgaged" at the residences of Prime Minister Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
 
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Oza, told the bench that the lawyer has tendered unqualified apology and in the light of it the matter should be put to rest.
 
Senior counsel K.K.Venugopal appearing for Gujarat High Court Advocate Association told the bench that bar association has reservation about what is happening. "If everything comes out it is not good for judiciary," he said, telling the bench that the feeling of the bar can't be disregarded, since, after all, it is also a member of the judicial family.
 
Senior counsel Harin Rawal, appearing for complainant Khemchand Rajaram Koshti, told the bench that Oza had, on an earlier occasion too, tendered a similar kind of apology but betrayed it and again spoke on the issue.
 
Doubting the sincerity of Oza in really putting a lid on the issue raked by him, Rawal wondered if apology was a tool to get out of contempt.
 
Seeking to put the issue at rest, senior counsel Venugopal said: "It is a wound that is being turned again and again. This should be closed and let there be peace and harmony."
 
Another senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that Koshti wants to keep the pot boiling, and described him more loyal than the king.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)