Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kejriwal versus Moily - Let The Truth Be Told

The action has picked up. As per the Hindu's report today Kejriwal has ordered the filing of a FIR by the ACB against Moily, Mukesh Ambani and V.K. Sibal for fixing the natural gas price in the KG Basin D-6 Block. He has based his action on the 'common complaint' by former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian, former Navy Chief Admiral R.H. Tahiliani, Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal and former Expenditure Secretary E.A.S. Sharma.

Allegations include inflating gas price much above the cost of production and keeping the production much below the capacity to seek upward revision. There is a question on why the gas prices are fixed in US dollars.

What is important to the general public is that the complaint alleges that gas prices in the country would double from April 1 to USD 8.4 from USD 4.2 per mbtu. It says that it is being done in collusion between RIL and government servants. Kejriwal has also said that a cost sheet has been attached with the complaint that shows that the cost to extract cost from the basin is less than USD 1 per mbtu. Now if that is true, which to some extent it must be, how can we pick up the tab for such a huge variation? And why? The common man is struggling under the burden of rising prices as it is and this would be the last straw on the camel's back.

However much Moily may cite expert advise and RIL may express shock and call it baseless and devoid of merit, the allegations are serious, concern Indian assets and definitely require looking into thoroughly. Especially when the common complaint has been filed by people of such high office and carry such serious allegations.

Many times the press has come out with reports on the gas pricing and the Hindu itself has done a good job of it, but then much of it has been silenced and muted and not as vocal as it should have been considering the magnitude. One again wonders why the normally rabid parts of the media are so silent over such an issue? Why is there still a campaign that is out to paint Kejriwal a fool or a naïve activist? He may be that but he is probably the only one who has shown the stomach for this fight so far.

Now to see the fallout of this. What kind of skeletons will now come out about the people who have filed the common complaint and what kind of a defence or diversionary tactic will be reverted to now to find escape routes. One can wait and watch but certainly I'd like to see what the truth really is behind this curious case of gas pricing.

Whatever happens, this round goes to Kejriwal for at least bringing such an important issue back into the limelight. That too when almost everyone who knows chooses to ignore it and look the other way. Whatever it is, I'd like to see a clear picture of this. What is the truth?

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