Kejriwal hits out at Narendra Modi for ‘favouring Adanis’

Takes dig at Cong too; says Gujarat govt bought electricity from Adani group at steep rates and ‘gifted away’ land at throwaway prices

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | December 4, 2012


Arvind Kejriwal address media conference at Press Club on Dec 4: Congress, BJP in game of irregularities together, alleges the AAP chief.
Arvind Kejriwal address media conference at Press Club on Dec 4: Congress, BJP in game of irregularities together, alleges the AAP chief.

In his first exposé since forming the Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal has taken the attack to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and alleged that both the BJP and Congress are in cahoots to favour business houses and enter into illegal and unethical deals.

Addressing the media on December 4, Kejriwal alleged that Modi gave undue benefits to Ahemdabad-based Adani group and sold gas wells and coal mines to favour business houses.

Interestingly, Kejriwal said suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt gave him the documents against the Adanis. Bhatt’s wife Shweta is contesting against Modi on a Congress ticket from the Maninagar assembly seat in Ahmedabad (read Has Shweta Bhatt erred in first step in taking on Modi?).

With just nine days to go for the Gujarat polls, Kejriwal claimed Modi had given away 20 per cent stake of the state-owned Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) to two private companies Geo Global and Jubilant Enpro — “completely free of cost”.

He said Jubilant Enpro is owned by Shyam Sunder Bhartia, husband of Shobhana Bhartia, a Rajya Sabha MP from the Congress and “close” to the Gandhi family.

Alleging that the Congress was also part of the “loot”, he asked, “Isn’t it strange that Modi granted Rs 10,000 crore (of) illegal benefit to someone so close to the Congress?” According to him, the Gujarat government recommended the Centre in August 2010 to cancel the agreement with Geo Global after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) started its audit. But despite repeated reminders, the UPA government did not cancel the agreement, he said.

‘Favouring’ the Adanis
Kejriwal alleged that the Modi government bought electricity from the Adani group at steep rates and gave away land to the company at throwaway prices. Having bought power from the group on temporary basis at Rs 5.45 per unit in 2007, the Modi government later entered into a long-term power purchase agreement, with the bids allegedly manipulated to favour the Adanis.

He said the Gujarat High Court passed an order against the state government for manipulating the bidding process in favour of the Adanis. '

In February 2007, the state government entered into two agreements with the Adanis to supply electricity at Rs 2.35 per unit and Rs 2.89 per unit, even though the state-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) had offered to supply electricity at a relatively cheaper Rs 2.25 per unit barely two months before the deal, he said.

But a few days after signing the agreement, the Adanis refused to supply power till they were supplied coal by the state government, Kejriwal said, adding that GMDC, which had its own blocks, said it would supply coal if the Adani group supplied power at Rs 2.25 per unit.

Waving copies of file notings purportedly made by Modi, the activist-turned-politician said the Gujarat CM not only did not cancel the contract with the private firm but in fact “personally intervened” in favour of Adanis. Kejriwal claimed that the GMDC chairman was transferred and the PSU “asked to supply 50 per cent of its coal from Naini block to Adanis”.

Despite this, Kejriwal said, the Adanis cancelled their contract in 2009 and the state government bought electricity from them under short-term contracts at Rs 5.50 per unit. The group also walked away with coal blocks without supplying power at cheaper rates, he said.

According to Kejriwal, the Modi government allotted 14,306 acres to the Adanis in Kutch at rates ranging from Re 1 per sq metre to Rs 32 per sq metre for a special economic zone. Most land in the deal was allotted at less than Rs 10 per sq metre, he claimed.

‘Favouring’ private firms in gas deal
In August 2002, the public sector GSPC acquired gas blocks worth $20 billion in KG Basin, according to the government’s estimates. The Modi government, Kejriwal claimed, entered into production-sharing agreements with Geo Global and Jubilant Enpro soon and gave away 10 percent of participating interest each to the two firms.

Questioning the selection of these companies, Kejriwal said records say it was not done through bidding.

“Geo Global, owned by one Jean Paul Roy, had to provide technical assistance. (But) the company was formed just six days before (the agreement was inked) with a total capital of only $64 (Rs 3,200) only,” he said, adding that the CAG has raised serious doubts about Geo Global’s technical competence.

According to Kejriwal, the sole purpose of this transaction seems to be to gift oil fields worth Rs 10,000 crore to Jean Paul Roy. He also said GSPC had spent $3 billion as cost of exploration, and since Geo Global held 10 percent stake, 10 percent of this cost — $300 million (Rs 1,500 crore) — should have been borne by Geo Global. But Modi government paid this money on the company’s behalf and never recovered it, Kejriwal said.

He claimed Jean Paul received benefits not just from Modi but also illegal benefits from the UPA government. He said Geo Global’s website shows the company received its first contract from the Modi government in February 2003, and based on that contract, Jean Paul entered into several production-sharing contracts in KG, Cambay, Deccan Syneclise and Bikaner Nagaur basins.

Many of these contracts have been with Oil India Limited, a central PSU.

BJP, Cong plot scam ‘together’
Kejriwal also alleged that the Gujarat government has allotted plots to MPs and MLAs in prime areas of Gandhinagar at an extremely low rate of Rs 45 per sq metre. While the plots were allotted to construct houses, most lawmakers sold them at much higher rates, he alleged.

Claiming that the Congress was part of the ‘deal’, the Aam Aadmi Party chief claimed the opposition party did not oppose this scheme as many of its own MLAs also benefited from it.

When the matter was challenged in Gujarat High Court, it stayed the sale of these plots. But, Kejriwal alleged, in order to keep the judges happy, Modi gave plots at low rates to all sitting and retired judges in April 2010.
Barring a few, all the others accepted the offer, he said. “Since then, this petition has not even been listed in the Gujarat High Court,” he said.

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