New Delhi: The CPI-M on Thursday targeted the government over the shifting of Jaipal Reddy from Petroleum ministry in the latest Cabinet reshuffle terming it a "brazen" instance of how "pressure" from the biggest corporate Reliance has worked.

Party general secretary Prakash Karat said in a statement that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA government "should not increase the price of natural gas prematurely as demanded by Reliance Industries India Limited (RIL).

"Price revision is due only in April 2014. The RIL's demand for re-imbursement for increased capital expenditure should not be. There has to be a performance audit by the CAG of capital expenditure incurred and the production targets met by the RIL."

He said the CPI-M has been raising the issues concerning the KG basin gas fields for the past number of years.

Reliance Industries had on Thursday rejected charges of receiving favours from government for its KG-D6 gas project.

"Since 2006, CPI-M MPs have been raising the question of the unjustified hike in the gas price and inflated expenditure shown by the RIL... a number of letters were written to the Petroleum Minister and the Prime Minister on these issues," Karat said referring to a letter written by party MP Tapan Sen to the Prime Minister in May this year.

Noting that the latest intervention by Sen was in May 2012 to demand that the gas price revision demanded by RIL be not acceded, Karat alleged the Prime Minister's office had "intervened to see that RIL's demand is considered by the ministry even after the ministry had rejected it.

"It is in this context that the shifting of Reddy from the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas raises disturbing questions. Here is a brazen instance of how pressure from the biggest corporate in India has worked."

Noting that the new minister for Petroleum (M Veerappa Moily) has already gone on record that quick decisions would be taken to ensure energy security, he said, "Already moves are on to concede to RIL's demands. The whole country is watching to see the outcome. Any step to render undue benefit to the RIL at the expense of the people's interest cannot be accepted," Karat said.


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