New Delhi: The CPI on Friday demanded resignation of Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and a high-level probe into the ministry's proposal to hike natural gas prices, alleging that such a move would subvert national interests and favour a big corporate house.

"This is a serious matter subverting the national interests of the country in order to favour a big corporate house. The CPI therefore demands that a high level inquiry, preferably by a Supreme Court judge, should be instituted and that Moily should resign," the party Central Secretariat said.

It said that senior CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta had "effectively exposed" Moily's moves "to shower a huge bonanza of windfall profit to Reliance".

The party backed Dasgupta's charges about decline in production leading to a loss of Rs 1.1 lakh crore, saying this happened "with the full knowledge and connivance of the Petroleum Minister. Further, he is recommending a price for the gas to be paid to Reliance which is substantially higher than that recommended by Rangarajan committee and high officials of his own Ministry".

The statement came on a day when the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs deferred a decision on the proposal to hike natural gas prices by a steep 60 percent.

Moily proposed to raise gas prices to USD 6.775 million British thermal unit (mmBtu) from current USD 4.2 mmBtu.

(Agencies)

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