Chaturvedi sends IB list of 16 suspects to CVC

Vol 15, PW 8 (20 Oct 11) People & Policy
     

Oil minister Jaipal Reddy and his trusted lieutenant oil secretary Girish Chaturvedi appear determined to clamp down on the bristling trade in confidential documents at the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

PETROWATCH learns Chaturvedi this month passed on to the anti-corruption Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) a list of 16 people in the oil ministry suspected of leaking confidential documents for a price, either as freelance operators, or as part of a wider racket. “In September the IB delivered a list of three people from the exploration division to (oil minister) Reddy’s office,” confirms a ministry source.

“This month they added another 13 to the list.” At least one director level bureaucrat and two under-secretaries, as well as several section officers and personal assistants across the oil ministry’s exploration, marketing, and gas-pricing divisions are believed to figure on the IB list.

“The atmosphere in the ministry is very bad,” reports a regular visitor. “Reddy and Chaturvedi trust no one; they think everyone is involved in some form of corruption; all officials in the ministry are under suspicion.

” Chaturvedi’s decision to call in the IB was triggered by the embarrassing leak in July of a headline-grabbing draft report from the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) on Reliance’s management of the D6 field and the role of BG and Cairn India at fields they operate. With a list of 16 suspects now in circulation, Chaturvedi has left it to the CVC to report back to the ministry with a recommendation for disciplinary action.

“Some action must be taken,” confirms a source. “This might be a suspension from duty or transfer out; too much sensitive material is leaking from the ministry.

” Whether this will be enough to eliminate the steady stream of confidential and clandestine documents to websites that depend on it for their survival is unclear.