Jairam Ramesh seeks probe into GSPC's Rs 20K-cr investment in KG basin

Jairam Ramesh seeks probe into GSPC's Rs 20K-cr investment in KG basin

Jairam Ramesh seeks probe into GSPC's Rs 20K-cr investment in KG basin
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday again attacked the Gujarat government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a CAG report on the Krishna-Godavari (K-G) Basin natural gas project. He also sought a judicial probe into issue. The Rs 20,000-crore project was taken up by state-owned Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd (GSPC).

"Remember, unlike previous CAG reports, where the loss was ‘presumptive’, this one is an actual loss of Rs 20,000 crore, which was borrowed and squandered. If a CAG report on presumptive losses was enough to launch an independent inquiry and try the protagonists, shouldn't a CAG report with an actual figure at least invoke a similar reaction?" Ramesh said, hinting at the 2G spectrum scam during the UPA regime.

GSPC had won a exploration block in the KG basin. It was announced that it had struck upon 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in its block, one of the biggest ever finds in the world’s hydrocarbon history. However, despite pumping in a lot of money, GSPC is yet to produce even one cubic feet of natural gas.

The latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in Gujarat had criticised GSPC’s operations and questioned its nearly Rs 20,000-crore investments in the KG Basin.

Speaking to reporters in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Ramesh questioned the role played by Modi, who was then Gujarat chief minister, in selection of GSPC’s partners, as well as overseas acquisitions by the company. He posed 20 questions, including one about why resignation of all the people involved (in the dealings) was not sought and a more detailed judicial inquiry not ordered, as was the case with CAG reports in other cases. “And why are lenders not declaring GSPC loans as non-performing assets?” Ramesh sought to know.

Ramesh also questioned Modi’s intentions for choosing Essar Group and Videocon Group as partners for GSPC's overseas exploration blocks. “GSPC went on an acquisition spree of 11 oil and gas blocks in Egypt, Australia, Indonesia and Yemen between 2006 and 2010. By 2015, it had surrendered 10 of these blocks and wrote off Rs 2,000 crore. For a company that had no prior experience in operating these blocks, GSPC's reckless acquisition spree of overseas blocks calls into question both its business acumen as well as its intent.”

He also questioned the procedures, which were adopted to route the funds for such acquisitions. “Did GSPC route money to make these overseas acquisitions? Did it secure the necessary approvals to do so?” Ramesh asked.