Murli Manohar Joshi is jumping the gun on CAG report: Govt

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Jaipal Reddy
New Delhi, Jun 20: S Jaipal Reddy, the Union Petroleum Minister tore into senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi for questioning the Government over the CAG draft report that had indicted the government for favouring private oil firms, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Cairn India.

At a press conference in Delhi, the minister defended the government's decision to let Reliance Industries to sell the natural gas from Krishna Godavari Basin at a higher price.

Launching a stout defence of his cabinet colleague and Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram, Reddy accused Murli Manohar Joshi of politicising the national auditor's report. He said, "Chidambram was the member of EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers). It's not an individual decision. It was not Chidambram alone but the EGoM which took the decision so the BJP should not point fingers at one minister."

Stating that the report was just a draft, the Oil Minister said that M M Joshi and Sitaram Yechury, the CPI-M leader were jumping the gun. He said, "It's a draft report. By criticising it Murli Manohar Joshi and Sitaram Yechury are jumping the gun. Murli Manohar Joshi as PAC chief is compromising his own position. The octogenarian politician is hunting for headlines. Murli Manohar Joshi should leave this to younger people. If leakage is breach of privilege of Parliament, he should give notice."

And added, "The issue of pricing was cleared by the EGoM. Murli Manohar Joshi's criticism of P Chidambaram is baseless. Chidambaram took the decision as part of the EGoM, not in his personal capacity. The BJP has new found fondness for the Home Minister but at this rate it will lose its credibility."

The CAG draft report that was leaked said that the government allowed Mukesh-Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited to sell natural gas at $4.2 per unit whereas the PSUs were selling it at a paltry $1.8.

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