Activist targets Pradhan cell bill paid by P-LNG

Vol 23, PW 22 (10 Sep 20) People & Policy

With less than a week left to retire, the last thing Petronet-LNG managing director Prabhat Singh needs is another controversy.

This time Singh stands accused of approving the payment of a telephone bill for oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan's daughter. It's not a vast amount - Rs68,424.33 ($931) and dates back to August 2017.

But on August 29 (2020) well-known civil liberties activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted: "A sample of how PSU Petronet is looted for the personal expense of daughter of MoPNG Dharmendra Pradhan. More than Rs68,000 ($925.44) paid for her international calls.

MD & CEO Prabhat Singh approved it. HC ordered a CVC inquiry into his abuse of office.

But no inquiry yet. Does he have PMO protection?" Bhushan also posted snapshots of a bill with a mobile number in the name of Naimisha Pradhan (Dharmendra Pradhan's daughter) and an inter-office memo on Petronet-LNG letterhead.

Dated February 12 (2018) the note says: "A request was received from the officer (coordination) to provide Matrix international card from office of minister of steel and minister of petroleum and natural gas. Accordingly, a voice and a data card were arranged at the airport on an urgent basis from Matrix Cellular International Services."

The memo is signed by a senior officer and deputy manager from HR and admin; senior vice president (HR and corporate communication); general manager (finance); director (finance); and managing director Prabhat Singh.