Congress seeks JPC probe against PM

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Taking cognizance of a CAG report saying there was no ‘commercial production’ in the KG Basin Gas blocks in which around Rs.19,576 crore were invested by the then Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government, the Congress on Tuesday sought a JPC probe into it.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, tabled in the Gujarat assembly on March 31, also questioned the ‘financial viability’ of the project.

“Narendra Modi must own responsibility for this gross loss to public exchequer running into nearly Rs.20,000 crore. He must be held accountable by same standard that he applies for others and submit himself to a probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) based on the findings of CAG,” said Congress spokesperson and deputy leader of Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma.

“The prime minister can only be probed by JPC because all the investigative agencies are under him,” said Sharma. “We demand that a JPC is constituted because the PM cannot be examined in a free and fair manner otherwise,” he added.

For the Congress, this is going to be the parliamentary agenda in the future, a Congress party source said.

In June, 2005, Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, had announced the discovery of 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas by the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) in KG Basin valued at $50 billion (Rs.2,20,000 crore).

The CAG report stated: “The audit observed that the trial production from the DDW field commenced in August 2014, but the average production achieved in March 2015 was only 19.45 mmscfd (million standard cubic feet of gas per day) (total targeted commercial production from DDW is 200 mmscfd). Commercial production has not commenced (November 2015) as production rate has not yet stabilised.”

It also added: “After the revision of gas pricing under the New Domestic Natural Gas Pricing Guidelines 2014, the financial viability of the project after commercial production remains doubtful as per the prevailing market scenario.”

The report also said that Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation invested Rs.19,576 crore in KG Basin Gas blocks without any assessment of the risk involved, construction technology, estimate of natural gas reserves or gas pricing.

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