Kejriwal takes on Ambani, says gas prices hiked to benefit RIL

NEW DELHI: India Against Corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal today publicly levelled charges of a shady nexus between Congress, BJP and Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

Kejriwal alleged that RIL kept oil production low 'to blackmail the government' and also charged that the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party were 'in Mukesh Ambani's pocket' as huge benefits were given to RIL despite violation in contracts.

Jaipal Reddy was removed as petroleum minister for refusing a proposal of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries to hike the charges of the gas it was supplying to state-owned power plants, India Against Corruption member Arvind Kejriwal charged Wednesday, demanding that the Krishna Godavari basin allotted to the company be cancelled.

"Mukesh Ambani is running the country it seems... Jaipal Reddy was removed as he refused to hike the charges being levied by Reliance Industries to supply gas to NTPC," Kejriwal said at a press conference.

He said the government looked helpless before the corporate group.

According to Kejriwal, the KG basin was awarded to Reliance in 2000 by the NDA government when the corporate agreed to supply gas to the National Thermal Power Corp for the next 17 years at $2.5 per unit.

But, said Kejriwal, the company revised the rate to $4.25 per unit in 2007 which then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee agreed to as the head of an empowered group of ministers.

The IAC activist also alleged that the hike in gas prices will benefit RIL by Rs 43,000 crore and such perks doled out will lead to price rise in the country.

Kejriwal further said that the RIL gas deal was signed by the NDA government and implemented by UPA govenment.

Kejriwal had earlier targetted Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, DLF's land deals in Haryana, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari in the Maharashtra irrigation scam and Salman Khurshid for his NGO's functions in Uttar Pradesh.

On Tuesday, BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh asked the Union government to investigate the possible foreign funding of Kejriwal. Ironically, this happened at a time when Congress mouthpiece Congress Sandesh also attacked Kejriwal for "hit-and-run" tactics without naming him.

"The main game of Kejriwal may be related to funding. We should know if the funds belong to India or the forces which want to weaken the country. The government should find out who has given the 'supari' to Kejriwal," the Kamal Sandesh edit says. However, the sharply-worded edit in the latest issue of Kamal Sandesh does not substantiate the charges made.

Kejriwal hit back at the BJP: "They have said we are being foreign funded. The list of all donors to this movement is on our website. I challenge the BJP. If the BJP has the guts and courage, let it put the list of all the donors to the party in the last 10 years."

The Congress also attacked Kejriwal in its mouthpiece without naming him. "We have seen the self-appointed guardians of morality and probity in public life. Their hit-and-run approach to the so-called scams has proved beyond doubt that they crave just for media attention."