Baalu admits using position to secure gas for his companies

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New Delhi, Apr 23 (UNI) Rubbishing the allegations of pressurising officers, levelled against him in a news report today, Union Minister for Surface Transport T R Baalu today justified his action of using his position to secure gas supply to two chemical companies owned by him, saying the units involved 45,000 shares of the public.

He categorically admitted that he put a word to the Petroleum Minister to secure 10,000 cubic mt gas from GAIL.

''A BFR company has to be saved. The responsibility lies with the Management,'' said Mr Baalu, responding to the Rajya Sabha Members, demand to the Government to come clean on the issue.

The Minister said he was the managing director of the companies, and it was his duty to see that that units remained operational.

The matter, which was raised by Dr V Maitreyan of the AIADMK during the Zero Hour in the House, led to heated exchanges between the Treasury and Opposition benches.

Mr Narainswamy of the Congress said allegations against a Minister could not be raised in the House like the way Dr Maitreyan was doing, as for that a formal motion has to be moved.

A number of members from the Congress also supported his demand, but Prof P J Kurien, who was chairing the House, asked Dr Maitreyan to continue, asking him to confine himself only to the news report, and level no other allegations.

Dr Maitreyan said that as per the news report, Mr Baalu was armtwisting the ONGC officials to pressurise them to supply gas to the King Chemicals and King's High Power.

He said the Minister was said to have asked the officials to bend rules to supply to gas to his companies from the Cauvery basin.

Mr Baalu vehemently dismissed these allegations and said he had to request the Petroleum Ministry after the worried staff of the company approached him and urged him to use his position in the interest of the company and its employees.

The Minister attacked the BJP, saying that they had vindictively cancelled his agreement with GAIL for supply of gas after his party withdrew support from the NDA government in 2003.

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