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CAG to get full access to a/cs: Deora
September, 01st 2009

Oil minister Murli Deora has personally promised CAG Vinod Rai that the goverment auditor will get full access to accounts of oil/gas fields where the Centre has substatial financial stakes being operated by private companies, including BG and Mukesh Ambani's RIL.

In case your organisation faces any difficulty from any contractor (regarding access to records), this may be brought to our notice. We shall ensure that audit by CAG would be conducted as required... We have already given direction to the contractors to make available all materials sought by CAG,'' Deora said in a letter to Rai.

Deora wrote the letter on August 27, a day before CAG's principal director of audit accused the ministry of circulating minutes of two crucial meetings on the issue without its consent or concurrence. It is a case of communication gap. Misgivings arose due to the time it took Deora's letter to reach CAG and percolate to appropriate level,'' a senior ministry official said.

Last week, CAG had written to the ministry saying RIL had at a meeting on August 17 expressed considerable reluctance in providing access to records for the previous years till 2006-07. Oil secretary R S Pandey said, "Subsequently, RIL had written to the ministry stating that it would voluntarily provide access to its books and sought the years and the modalities for the purpose."

"We had in 2007 asked operators to give in writing their objections to CAG auditing their books. Some operators expressed reluctance, but RIL was not one of them," Pandey added.

Deora has also sought formation of a ministerial panel to allocate the fuel. Deora on Sunday met PM's principal secretary T K A Nair for constitution of an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) on the lines of the previous ministerial panel headed by Pranab Mukherjee.

The previous EGoM had decided on allocation of first 40 million cubic metres per day of gas from RIL's Andhra offshore fields. Now there is a need to revive the mechanism so that we can allocate gas beyond these levels to new customers," Deora said.

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