Gandhinagar: Opposition Congress on Wednesday alleged the ruling BJP had diverted a huge amount of money from state-run Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) to fund the party`s election campaigns in the last three years, a charge strongly refuted by the Anandiben Patel Government.
Launching a direct attack on the BJP government in the Assembly, Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela demanded setting up a joint committee of MLAs to investigate what he claimed "scandal" at GSPC involving its financial affairs.
However, the Government contested Vaghela`s charges and asserted the Congress leader has not carefully read the balance-sheet of the state PSU.
"As per the annual report of GSPC (2013), the company spent a total of Rs 304 crore between 2011 and 2013 as `Miscellaneous Expenses`. I see a scandal in this. You can`t spend Rs 304 crore as miscellaneous expenses," said Vaghela.
The former CM was speaking in the House on budgetary allocations to the Department of Energy and Petrochemicals.
"GSPC is not a private property of a party. Why such huge amount has been shown under miscellaneous expenses exactly when elections were about to held in the State?
"At that time, we used to wonder how BJP manages to fund its extravagant campaigns. Now, we can see how it was done. I demand that a joint (bipartisan) committee of MLAs should be formed to investigate the matter."
Energy Minister Saurabh Patel claimed Vaghela is misleading the House.
"The money debited under `Miscellaneous Expenses` is actually the repayment of loans taken by GSPC. Since there is no separate head for repayment, we have debited it under miscellaneous. Otherwise, we have not incurred any miscellaneous expenses," Patel said in his statement.
"It seems our LoP hasn`t read the balance-sheet carefully. We have just followed the guidelines of RBI. There is no truth behind the allegations that this money was used for election campaigns," he maintained.
The Congress MLA also raised questions on partnership agreement between GSPC and Canadian firm Geo Global Resources.
"Geo never had any expertise in gas exploration even though it was made a 10 per cent partner in GSPC. As per the annual report, GSPC is yet to recover Rs 1,350 crore from Geo. Where has this money gone. I can smell corruption in this," alleged Vaghela, citing CAG report attached to GSPC report.