Fathers need to keep distance from sons

Vol 14, PW 9 (21 Oct 10) People & Policy

Sons are meant to be a burden to their fathers, say some, and for Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board member (infrastructure) BS Negi this probably rings true.

PETROWATCH learns Negi is burdened once again with ‘conflict of interest’ allegations over his son Akhilesh. Word has it that Akhilesh “helped” a consortium of Welspun-Adani and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) with its bid to lay a 973-km pipeline from Mehsana in Gujarat to Bhatinda in Punjab.

Industry sources claim this consortium paid Rs50 lakh ($100,000) for “a market assessment of the project” to Delhi-based Resonance Energy, owned by Akhilesh. When contacted, Negi rubbishes the allegations.

“My son has nothing to do with the pipeline project,” he said. “He is not dealing with any bidder.

” However, Negi admits his son Akhilesh was forced to close down his previous company National Engineering and General Industries (NEGI), because of similar allegations in May 2009. “He (Akhilesh) closed down his company,” says Negi, “because of the conflict of interest allegations against me.

” Negi also confirms his son works with consultancy firms hired by companies who bid for retail gas business or cross-country gas pipeline projects. Another rumour circulating is that Akhilesh’s company Resonance is being recommended to carry out Detailed Feasibility Reports on a list circulated by engineering consultants MECON.

“Negi deals with MECON regularly,” alleges a source. “He must have asked them (MECON) to include his son’s company in the list to promote him.

” Negi vehemently denies this allegation too saying his son has not worked with MECON and is unaware that his company’s name is on the list. Besides the Welspun Adani and IL&FS consortium, a consortium of Gujarat State Petronet, IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum was in the race to win the Mehsana to Bhatinda project.

Both consortia had submitted technical bids to the Board on July 23 to ‘build-own-operate and transfer’ the pipeline.