CAG must probe gold-plating charge against RIL in KG-D6: Dasgupta

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DASGUPTANEW DELHI, July 21;Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Gurudas Dasgupta on Saturday urged the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to probe the gold-plating charge against Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited and also quantify the cost recovery already done and the cost recovery still to be done for the period under audit.

In a letter to CAG Shashi Kant Sharma, he said the CAG should take a firm stand against RIL for trying to stall the audit of KG-D6 block and giving replies to audit requisitions (ARs) and the SAP system. “I am deeply concerned that a private company, whose dubious conduct is in the public domain, has the cheek to ignore the CAG which derives its authority from our Constitution. I have also written a letter to Petroleum Secretary Vivek Rae, asking the government to issue directions to RIL to ensure that complete information is provided expeditiously to the CAG to ensure that audit is completed on time,” the letter said.

Mr. Dasgupta said there had been huge shortfall in production, compared to the Approved Field Development Plan over the last three years. “I would request CAG to estimate the direct monetary loss to the country in terms of reduction in power and fertilizer production. No study has been made regarding the actual cost of production of RIL. Since CAG has access to all the expenditures of RIL, I would you to ask your team to calculate the actual cost of production and also compute the total profit earned by RIL in each of the years,. This would be particularly useful in the context of the recent price revision carried out by the government,” it said.

Referring to the arbitration proceedings currently underway for disallowing cost recovery of $1.5 billion due to shortfall in production, Mr. Dasgupta asked the CAG to quantify the extent of cost recovery already done and the cost recovery still to be done for the period under audit. This, he said, would ensure that when cost recovery was disallowed for the year 2012-13 and the current year for shortfall in production, there would be accurate estimate of the amount that needs to be recovered from RIL.

Pointing out that in its last report, CAG said that the gold-plating charge (inflating capital expenditure from $2 billion to $8 billion) would be examined in the current audit report. “I would request that this allegation is examined carefully and a definite finding be given in the current report,” the letter adds.

In another letter to the Petroleum Secretary, the CPI MP expressed concern over the reports that RIL was seeking to create hurdles in the smooth conduct of the CAG audit and was not giving access to the information being sought by the audit team. “The CAG is looking at issues of vital national importance in its audit of the KG-D6 block and it is incumbent upon the government to provide all possible assistance to the CAG to ensure that audit is completed as expeditiously as possible. I would request you to issue directions to RIL to comply with all the ARs in a specified time frame failing which the government would take penal action against them. Unless such a clear message is given, RIL will continue with its plan to frustrate the audit exercise,” he added.

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