Photo: Vipin Kumar/HT
Photo: Vipin Kumar/HT

Congress forces adjournments in Rajya Sabha over CAG report on KG basin

Congress sought a discussion on the latest report of CAG listing irregularities in Gujarat State Petroleum Corp.'s KG basin gas project

New Delhi: The Opposition Congress on Monday forced three adjournments in Rajya Sabha in the pre-lunch session demanding a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointing out anomalies in Gujarat’s KG Basin gas project.

Congress sought a discussion on the latest report of CAG listing irregularities in Gujarat State Petroleum Corp.’s KG basin gas project. While the government said CAG reports are examined by Public Accounts Committees (PACs) of state assemblies and there was no convention to discuss those in Parliament, deputy chairman P.J. Kurien said their notice seeking a discussion was under examination of the chairman. This did not satisfy Congress members who rushed into the Well of the House raising slogans “Pradhan Mantri jawab do, jawab do."

Kurien first adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes till 11.30am, then till noon and thereafter till 12.32pm as similar scenes were repeated when the House reassembled after the brief breaks. No sooner were the listed papers laid, Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry sought to raise the issue of CAG slamming the handling of the Bay of Bengal KG Basin gas field project by GSPC, a state government entity. While Mistry alleged irregularities of over 30,000 crore were found, Congress leader Anand Sharma said the government has been running away from a discussion on the issue.

“We want this issue to be settled... the matter has to be discussed," he said. Modi as Gujarat chief minister in 2005 had announced that GSPC had struck 20 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in its KG basin block. But recoverable reserves have proved to just one-tenth of that and GSPC’s borrowings shot up to 19,716.27 crore as of 31 March 2015, according to CAG report.

Kurien said that if notice is given, chairman will examine it and called Sukhendu Shekhar Roy to speak on his notice. Congress members did not relent and moved into the Well shouting slogans. Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said PAC of state assemblies go into CAG reports and Parliament does not discuss them. “This is diversionary tactics. They are trying to divert attention from AgustaWestland (helicopter) deal," he said.