Social worker takes aim at OPaL and KM Dastur

Vol 19, PW 10 (28 Jan 16) People & Policy

Controversy refuses to die down over Mumbai-based insurance broker KM Dastur’s appointment as an insurance consultant by OPaL – ONGC’s $4.2bn petrochemicals joint venture in Gujarat with GAIL and GSPC.

PETROWATCH has seen a two-page Right to Information (RTI) application submitted to ONGC by Delhi-based social worker Pankaj Kumar who wants answers to 11 questions related to Dastur’s OPaL appointment in mid-2015. After asking whether OPaL has hired an insurance consultant and if so at what rate, Kumar demands to see a copy of the tender.

If no tender was issued, he wants details of the selection process. Kumar gives his address as 190, First Floor, Pratap Nagar, Mayur Vihar, Phase-1 Delhi 91.

The phone number provided, 011-22751531, belongs to a media house publishing the magazine ‘India First’ in English and ‘Sanchar Times’ in Hindi. Kumar was initially unavailable at the number despite repeated attempts.

However he called this report from a Mumbai landline in the morning on January 22. “I’m a social worker,” he said when asked about his background and reason for filing the RTI.

“Don’t ask my background. Focus on the wrongdoings at ONGC and OPaL.

” Kumar maintained his mission is to unearth “scams” and “corruption” at state-owned companies, particularly ONGC. “Even the appointment of Trinath Behera, OPaL CFO, was done without following procedure,” alleges Kumar, adding that Behera’s Orissa connection with oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan won him the job.