New Delhi: The Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Thursday told the Delhi high court that the city government’s decision to probe the Centre’s policy on gas pricing was a “peculiar" and “absurd" situation.

The submission was made before justice V.K. Shali by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi who appeared for RIL which has challenged the then Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s decision to lodge an FIR relating to alleged irregularities in raising the price of gas from the company’s KG6 basin.

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ministers M. Veerappa Moily and Murli Deora, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani and others were named in the FIR.

Delhi government had also alleged that the UPA government “favoured" RIL with an eye on the 2014 general elections and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintained “silence" hoping to gain corporate funding for the polls. The charges have been denied by RIL and others.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the persons on whose complaint the FIR was lodged, had said the 23 July 2014, the notification on the powers of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) amounted to diluting its powers. The 23 July notification has limited the ACB’s powers to probe graft cases to the extent that it can investigate only city government officials and not those of the Centre. The notification was violative of the Criminal Procedure Code, Bhushan said and added the Centre did not have the power to issue the same with respect to ACB.

Delhi government, on its part, opposed RIL’s submission saying it was only investigating a criminal complaint and central government officials may come in the sweep of its probe. The Centre, meanwhile, said it is still awaiting instructions on whether the notification will have prospective effect.

After hearing the brief arguments, the court listed the matter for further hearing on 21 January 2015.

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