Moily keeps Reliance files away from Giridhar

Vol 17, PW 2 (22 Aug 13) People & Policy

Veerappa Moily doesn't trust Aramane Giridhar with Reliance files as (unproven) rumours continue to circulate that the joint secretary exploration leaks sensitive information to his former boss and mentor oil minister Jaipal Reddy.

All files relating to the Mukesh Ambani controlled conglomerate will now go over Giridhar's head directly to oil secretary Vivek Rae. “Rae has asked (exploration director) Nalin Srivastava to consult him directly on any Reliance file, bypassing Giridhar,” says a ministry source.

“Rae has also asked Srivastava to prepare policy notes without involving Giridhar. Once Rae is satisfied with a Reliance file it will go to Giridhar for signing but only as a formality.

” Giridhar was put in charge of exploration by notoriously anti-Reliance former oil minister Reddy. "Moily has always labelled Giridhar as Reddy’s man,” adds our source.

“Giridhar is caught in the crossfire; it is not easy to work in a small place like the ministry if the minister doesn’t like you.” In August Moily demanded Giridhar be stripped of three portfolios after he allegedly spread rumours the oil minister backed Reliance in approving new gas price rules.

But Rae defended Giridhar, who he considers competent and intelligent. Giridhar will now retain the complex gas pricing portfolio as he was involved in developing the gas price deregulation directives and is best placed to justify it against opposition from political groups.

Two other portfolios, overseas asset acquisition and CBM and shale gas policy, were this month transferred to joint secretary PK Singh.