New Delhi: Director general of hydrocarbons (DGH) V.K. Sibal, accused of favouritism towards Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), said on Tuesday his request for voluntary retirement will be decided by Oil India Ltd (OIL), the organization he belongs to.
The allegations had emerged amid the bitter dispute between the Ambani brothers over gas that’s being fought out in the Supreme Court.
Exit mode: Director general of hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal. PIB
Sibal, whose term as DGH comes up for renewal at the end of this month, confirmed his application for voluntary retirement to Mint.
“It is up to Oil India Ltd to decide on my application as it is my parent organization,” Sibal said. “After my lien expires, I will be governed by OIL rules.”
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd said the DGH improperly approved a fourfold increase in capital expenditure by RIL on the D6 exploration block of the Krishna-Godavari basin to $8.8 billion (Rs41,184 crore). The D6 block is where RIL made one of the biggest gas discoveries ever in India.
Both Sibal and RIL have denied allegations regarding financial favours bestowed on members of Sibal’s family.
Sibal has submitted his application to state-run OIL for voluntary retirement even as the Central Vigilance Commission, or CVC, has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into allegations of a “nexus” between him and RIL. CVC oversees the functioning of government agencies and state-owned firms.
“It is for OIL to take a decision on Sibal’s application since he is an OIL employee. We do not see him getting an extension,” said a senior official at the petroleum and natural gas ministry, who did not want to be identified. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons falls under the purview of the petroleum ministry.
“We have just received his letter seeking early retirement from OIL. His lien ends in October. He is presently not working for OIL but for the petroleum ministry as DGH. That is the catch,” said a senior OIL executive who did not want to be identified. “If he comes and joins us then he becomes an OIL employee. We are going as per the rule book and whatever we are doing is in complete knowledge of the agencies concerned.”
An RIL spokesperson declined to comment.
A CBI spokesperson in an email response to Mint on 6 October had said: “A reference has been received from the CVC. CBI will verify the details and submit its report to CVC. No more details can be shared at this stage.”