CBI probe in gas price case 'likely'

CBI probe in gas price case 'likely'

The Union home ministry has taken an update from the Delhi government on the probe into an FIR registered by the city’s Anti-Corruption Branch over pricing of natural gas. 

Sources said the meeting has created a buzz on a possibility of CBI investigating the case. 

Chief Secretary A K Srivastav noted the briefing from official’s of Delhi’s home and legal departments before presenting a report on Thursday to the Union home ministry on the probe into the FIR, sources said.

“Apart from progress in the probe, the ministry officials wanted an opinion if the ACB needed any help from central investigating agencies, like the CBI, which have experience and manpower to handle such corruption case,” said an official source.

“If, at all, the central government shifts the case to CBI, it would be well within its rights,” said an official, without confirming if a formal decision had been taken on the federal probe agency taking up the case. 

Former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on February 11 ordered the anti-corruption wing to file criminal cases against Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, among others, for allegedly creating artificial scarcity of natural gas and fixing prices.

Also named, in the alleged corruption case, were Moily's predecessor in the Union petroleum ministry, Murli Deora, and former director general of hydrocarbons V K Sibal.Senior officials of the Anti-Corruption Branch, which is short of hands, remained tight-lipped about the Delhi chief secretary’s meeting in the central ministry on Thursday.A Delhi ACB official, who did not want to be named, refused to even say that the case was under their investigation. 

During the meeting in the home ministry, the Delhi chief secretary, who was among those who advised Kejriwal to go ahead and order registration of FIR against Moily and Ambani, hinted that documents needed for speedy progress in the case were not coming about, a official said.

‘Matter of time’

An official source said the transfer of the case to the CBI appeared to be just a matter of time. 

“As per the convention, the mandate of the Delhi ACB has always been to probe corruption cases against government officials upto the level of Class 3 and 4,” he said.“The CBI has always been the agency for probing cases of graft against all India services officers,” he said.

Former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal said there was nothing amiss in the home ministry seeking an update in the case from the Delhi government.

“Delhi is a territory administered by the Union, the entire investigation set up in the city reports to the central government. If the home ministry so desires, the very least it can do is transfer the case's FIR to the CBI,” he said.

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