An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Crony Capitalism: Kejriwal’s Ambani expose’ in brief

The expose on Mukesh Ambani by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan was indeed explosive.  The way Arvind Kejriwal is going, he will shake up the entire system in an unprecedented manner.  Which, in my eyes, is a great thing.  The only way to take on this system of corruption and greed perpetuated by corrupt businessmen and politicians is to shake it to its roots.  And, indeed, there is no one as brave and fearless at the moment as Kejriwal.

I wanted to document his and Prashant Bhushan’s statements during their press conference.

ARVIND KEJRIWAL

  • Not just the Congress – even the BJP is in pocket. In 2002, KG basin contract was given to Reliance by NDA government.
  • In 2004, RIlL said we will give gas for 17 years at $2.2 per unit- supply to NTPC
  • It shows the government is helpless in front of them
  • But in 2007 they wanted $4.2, a responsible government should have taken them to court on cancelled their contract
  • But an EGOM under Pranab Mukherjee, the government agreed to their terms
  • Why did the govt agree?
  • Now reliance wants $14.25 per unit. They have pressurised the government from 2010. At that price, electricity per unit will have to be supplied at Rs. 7 per unit.
  • RIL was to supply eight crore units by 2010 – but RIL slowed down production and supplied only two crore units.
  • They started hoarding gas – like the small time traders do.
  • They insisted on $14.25 per unit as price.
  • Jaipal Reddy sent them a notice penalising them for 7000 Cr – and he paid the penalty.
  • The agreement was unique – profits rose when costs rose and the costs were determined by RIL.
  • Jaipal Reddy  refused – and he suffered for that – he was removed from the ministry.
  • In 2004 the investment was 12000 Cr – they said 2 years later that they wanted to invest 45000 Cr.
  • Manishankar Iyer who did not agree was removed and Murli Deora – who is said to be their man- was brought in.
  • He approved the move – that benefitted RIL by Rs. 1 lakh cr – CAG says this is gold plating. CAG report is on our website – we are giving you extracts.
  • How can buying at $4.2 instead of $2.2 by NTPC be in public interests – by this one decision, Pranab Mukherjee benefitted RIL by 10000 crore.
  • Bombay High Court in a judgement says that their profit is contained in $2.2 per unit – now they have escalated prices. That is greed.
  • From  Oman, we get gas at $ 1 per unit – so why does RIl want $14.2 – that gas belongs to the country – they don’t own it.
  • They have sold 30% of it to BP for 35000 Cr – and government allowed it.
  • In two years the cost escalated 2.5 times – if a government department had done it, the media would not have spared them.
  • Till now they were to have 31 functional wells, of which only 13 have been done. They are hoarding gas.
  • We want to ask the Prime Minister that when RIL was to supply gas at $2.2 to NTPC and rescinded, why was not the Attorney General’s opinion sought?
  • Why does the PM’s heart not beat for the people of their country, when their interests at stake?
  • It seems like Mukesh Ambani is running this country – Manmohan Singh isn’t.
  • When telecom minister has to be appointed, Tata and other companies decide. When Petroleum Minister has to be appointed, Reliance does it.
  • Whether you vote for Congress or the BJP, the country is being run by Mukesh Ambani.
  • We demand the contract with RIL in Krishna-Godavari basin be scrapped and given to Oil India and ONGC – so that the country should get the most gas at the cheapest rates. We demand a performance audit by CAG.
  • Is there a quid pro quo that Moily allows them $14.2 and RIL finances the election for the Congress party?

PRASHANT BHUSHAN

  • What we are exposing today is not an individual but the depths to which crony capitalism has descended in this country.
  • Decisions are far from being dictated by public interest are being dictated by the commercial industrialists of crony capitalists like RIL.
  • Loot has gone to such an extent that from this loot, some capitalists have become so powerful that they not only decide government policies but they even decide who will be in cabinet.
  • This episode of reshuffle shows that Reddy shifted out only on account of this pressure of reliance.This pressure of Reliance – this is the only reason why Mr Jaipal Reddy has been shifted out of the cabinet.
  • How and why are such decisions of privatizing natural resources being taken? What is the rationale that the government gives to hand them over to private companies? They say country will benefit.
  • The so-called investment made in natural resources, bulk of that money taken from government.  Cost padding is such that ONGC would have spent less money than our public institutions have spent on Reliance. Then we buy the same from them for several times the cost.
  • It is exactly like DLF giving Vadra land. It’s absolutely clear that all this is being done because crony capitalists are greasing the palms of those involved. Those who resist, like Aiyar and Reddy, are shunted out.
  • Crony capitalism has created a corporate mafia – can this kind of a system be tolerated? Has the time come for cancelling all these contracts?
  • Time has come for people of this country to reclaim their resources.

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