AK Balyan's expensive Audi legacy at P-LNG

Vol 23, PW 1 (31 Oct 19) People & Policy

One of AK Balyan's more unfortunate legacies continues to result in a staggering waste of money at Petronet-LNG - four years after he retired as managing director.

In December 2011 and without tender, Balyan bought a luxurious Audi for Rs35.5 lakhs ($50,000) which has never been used and today lies gathering dust in the basement garage of Petronet-LNG's World Trade Centre office in Delhi. Worse, Petronet-LNG is wasting more than Rs1 lakh ($1400) every year for its maintenance, insurance and parking.

"Until now Petronet-LNG has spent more than Rs15 lakhs ($21,000) on the car's upkeep," reveals a source. Soon after taking charge as company chief in July 2010, Balyan bought two cars: an Audi model A4 2.0 TDI with registration number DL-13CQ-2345 and a Hyundai Santa Fe.

But controversy quickly erupted over the Audi purchase after it emerged even chairmen of Petronet-LNG promoter companies ONGC, GAIL, IndianOil or Bharat Petroleum did not use such high-end cars. Nor did then oil minister Jaipal Reddy.

Humbled, Balyan then played safe and ordered the car parked in a slot rented from the five-star Hotel Lalit in the World Trade Centre basement to be moved out once controversy died down. But controversy never died.

"No one in the company including (CEO) Prabhat Singh wants it," adds a source. "Using such a luxury car would generate a huge storm, Singh already has enough controversies, he doesn't want more."