ONGC cracks down on Assam asset corruption

Vol 22, PW 5 (13 Dec 18) People & Policy

After 30 years ONGC has launched a coordinated crackdown on the routine theft of materials and rampant corruption at its Nazira-based Assam asset.

Working with local CBI officers, an ONGC source tells us executive director and asset manager SD Maske is determined to 'clean up' the Assam asset in the seven remaining months before he retires in June next year (2019). "They will distribute sweets when Maske retires!" says an ONGC source.

"Some chemical suppliers have been running a racket for years, adulterating chemicals and siphoning them off." Under scrutiny are several Sivasagar-based ONGC contractors, raided by a 38-member CBI team on November 29 under Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, including workover contractor Udipta Energy.

Potentially more risky, ONGC is also helping police investigate a local politician (name withheld) who in 2017 asked for old pipelines replaced by Megha Engineering under a Rs2600cr ($400m) facilities upgrade at the Assam asset only to re-sell them on the black market. "ONGC and Megha both agreed to give these old pipelines for a good cause," adds our source.

"But the pipelines were found with scrap dealers." Since then ONGC has formulated a standard response.

"Whoever asks now is told to get a signed (requirement) order from the local PWD (state-owned Public Works Department) engineer and we promise to give new pipelines, not old pipelines but new pipelines." we hear.

"Since then all requests have stopped."

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