Reliance Industries reluctant to share records: Auditor


In a letter to the petroleum ministry dated Aug 26, Principal Director of Audit K.R. Sriram also said the minutes of the meeting Aug 17 pertaining to the audit of Krishna-Godavari and the Panna-Mukta-Tapti fields were issued without his office's consent.

"We are, therefore, indicating our remarks on these minutes, which may please be incorporated and the revised minutes sent to us for our record," said the two-page letter to D.N. Narasimha Raju, joint secretary exploration in the oil ministry.

"The understanding of our audit team was that during the meeting the contractor's representative expressed considerable reluctance to provide access to records for the previous years till 2006-07," the letter said.
"While we are fine with the week starting Sep 21 for the meeting, such a conference will have full purpose only when we have documented clarity about our exact audit access," said the letter pertaining to the meeting on Krishna-Godavari gas.

The content of the letter assumes significance in the light of allegations that Reliance Industries had gold-plated -- or grossly overstated -- the capital expenditure for the production of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.
The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group - which is fighting a legal battle for gas from these fields - has said Reliance Industries deliberately inflated the capital expenditure that will result in losses worth billions of dollars to the government.

The Anil Ambani group said based on the original estimate of the gas output of 40 million units a day, when the fields were handed over to Reliance Industries, the capital expenditure was pegged at around $2.5 billion.
How can this more than triple to nearly $9 billion when the output is envisaged to only double to 80 million units, the group queried, even as Reliance Industries as also the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons sought to justify the same.

Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey, meanwhile, said an official audit will be conducted on the capital capital expenditure of all major oil and gas discoveries, including the Krishna-Godavari basin and the Panna-Mukta-Tapti fields.

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