New Delhi/Ahmedabad: Arvind Kejriwal, national convenor of the recently launched Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), alleged in his fifth such “expose” that the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat “gifted away” 20% of Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. Ltd’s (GSPC) stake in its prolific Pandit Deendayal block to GeoGlobal Resources (India) Inc. (GGR) and Jubilant Enpro Pvt. Ltd.
According to Kejriwal, the Modi government entered into “production-sharing agreements” with these firms and gave 10% stake each to them “completely free of cost” without any competitive bidding and added that the “conservative estimate” of the amount would come to Rs.10,000 crore each to the two companies.
Mint couldn’t independently verify his claims.
GSPC has denied the charges regarding GGR as “baseless and without complete appraisal of the facts”.
In an emailed note dated 3 December, Tapan Ray, managing director, GSPC, clarified that while GSPC wanted to cancel the agreement with GGR, it couldn’t do so as the management committee for the block KG-OSN-2001/03 in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin off the Andhra Pradesh coast is yet to meet.
The KG block has been GSPC’s most successful one. Gujarat had announced in 2005 that it had discovered 20 tcf (trillion cu. ft) gas in the Deendayal block.
“This matter is pending with MoPNG (ministry of petroleum and natural gas) who have asked GSPC as the operator to maintain the status quo,” Ray clarified.
Ray said that since no commercial production has started from the block, GGR hasn’t received any revenue till date.
Jubilant Energy, a subsidiary of Jubilant Enpro, denied the allegations made by Kejriwal.
“Jubilant Energy subsidiary of Jubilant Enpro won this block under international competitive bidding under the third round of New Exploration Licensing Policy of the government of India. Jubilant Energy is a partner in the block and pays fully for its 10% share of expenditure,” the statement said.
The allegations come in the backdrop of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) criticizing GSPC for cost over-runs in many of its hydrocarbon exploration blocks, especially its offshore asset in the Pandit Deendayal block.
In the first “expose” after the launch of his party last month, Kejriwal questioned the “development” image of Modi. Earlier, the activist-turned-politician had targeted Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Reliance Industries Ltd.
The issue played out in the Lok Sabha with Congress lawmakers disrupting proceedings, hours before the House was to begin a discussion on foreign investment in retail. The Lok Sabha was adjourned for 20 minutes after Congress members of Parliament ran to the centre of the house raising slogans against Modi. They were flashing copies of the latest issue of Tehelka magazine that carries an article that airs the same allegations raised by Kejriwal.
Kejriwal also targeted the Gujarat government for allegedly rigging a bid in favour of the Gautam Adani-promoted Adani Group for the supply of expensive electricity, even as cheaper power tariff was offered by state-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corp. Ltd (GMDC), which was then forced to supply coal to the conglomerate. He also claimed the Adani Group was given land at cheap prices.
The Adani Group denied the charges and in an emailed statement said, “The land for the special economic zone at Mundra was allotted following the process of law. The allegation related to coal supply by GMDC is baseless. Till date, we have not received any coal from GMDC.”
The promoters of HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint, and the Jubilant Group, of which Jubilant Enpro is a part, are closely related. There are no promoter cross-holdings.
Liz Mathew and Utpal Bhaskar contributed to this story.