New Delhi: Former director general of hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal, who was caught in the crossfire between the feuding Ambani brothers, wants to continue at state-run Oil India Ltd (OIL), the organization he rejoined after his term ended on 31 October.
“I had applied for early retirement. It can be only given after vigilance clearances. That time I had applied for retirement but it didn’t happen. My application has been perpetually withdrawn,” Sibal said.
“I want to work with OIL for another two years till my superannuation in January 2012,” he added.
VK Sibal, officer on special duty, Oil India Ltd
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into allegations of a nexus between Sibal and Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). CVC oversees the functioning of government agencies and state-owned firms.
The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) is a government body that manages petroleum resources of the country and falls under the purview of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.
Mint had reported on 28 October about Sibal’s application for voluntary retirement from OIL.
“Sibal has rejoined work and has two more years to go,” said a top petroleum ministry official who did not want to be identified. “He wants to continue with OIL.”
After leaving DGH, Sibal went on three months’ leave which ended 31 January, after which he assumed office on 1 February as an officer on special duty (OSD) at OIL. S.K. Srivastava, director of operations at OIL, took additional charge as director general after Sibal’s term was not renewed last year by the petroleum ministry.
OIL has however not received a request for the withdrawal of Sibal’s application for early retirement, said a senior OIL executive who did not want to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
“Our position is consistent which states that early retirement can be given subject to vigilance clearance,” he added. “However, he has asked for an upgradation of position to an executive director.”
The allegations regarding Sibal had emerged amid the bitter dispute between Mukesh and Anil Ambani over gas that’s being fought out in the Supreme Court.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd said the director general improperly approved a fourfold increase in capital expenditure by RIL on the D6 exploration block of the Krishna-Godavari basin to $8.8 billion (around Rs41,008 crore). RIL made made one of the country’s biggest gas discoveries at D6. Exploration companies get to recover their cost from the hydrocarbons they find and any increase in capital expenditure means more of so-called cost oil or gas.
Both Sibal and RIL have denied allegations regarding financial favours bestowed on members of Sibal’s family.
The ministry of petroleum and natural gas advertised for the post of director general of hydrocarbons on 23 December, with the last date for applications being 13 January.