Ashok Singh declares war on S. Roy Choudhury

Vol 15, PW 10 (17 Nov 11) People & Policy
     

Hindustan Petroleum chairman S.

Roy Choudhury has promised to fight a series of damaging allegations soon to be laid bare in the Delhi High Court. Ashok Singh, a former HPCL officer and labour union official, plans to file a petition claiming the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) fraudulently cleared Choudhury’s appointment as company chairman in 2010.

“The CVC didn’t stop Choudhury from taking charge in August 2010,” Singh tells PETROWATCH. “But my complaint against him is pending since November 11, 2009.

” Two months ago Singh invoked the Right to Information Act to discover his complaint against Choudhury is gathering dust at the CVC. Provoked, he hired a team of top lawyers, and is trying to hire former solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam also.

A draft petition, seen by this report, alleges impropriety when Choudhury was HPCL executive director and later director marketing. Singh alleges that in May 2009 Choudhury allowed a generous 75 day credit period to privately-owned GMR for diesel delivered to its 200-MW Vasavi Basin Bridge power station in Chennai.

“On the one hand HPCL is borrowing from the market,” reads the draft petition. “On the other it has given credit to GMR.

” Worse, Singh alleges GMR wrongly told power purchaser Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) it was allowed only five days credit by HPCL. “TNEB is a government enterprise and was deprived of 70 days additional credit,” he adds.

Also under scrutiny is Choudhury’s appointment of ICICI Bank in 2003 without tender to operate a customer loyalty programme for diesel sales from HPCL pumps. And finally, when others were ignoring Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya, Choudhury inexplicably raised the cash-strapped stricken airline’s credit limit from Rs300cr ($60m) to Rs605cr ($121m).

“These charges are an act of desperation from a man (Singh) who was dismissed from HPCL,” Choudhury tells this report. “If they come to court I will fight them.

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