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.
Later, he said, the company wanted the rate to be further hiked to $14.25 per unit.
Jaipal Reddy, who reportedly did not agree to the proposal, was shunted out in Sunday’s cabinet rejig, said the activist.
“The company was allowed to hike the cost of producing gas and thus its profits,” said Kejriwal.
Reliance Industries was not immediately available for comment.