New Delhi: CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta on Thursday asked Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily to identify the "vested interests" whom he had alleged were influencing to stall decision-making in the oil sector.
"Moily`s statement is misleading and malicious. I request him to kindly identify the vested interest I am representing," the senior CPI MP said in a statement.
Moily and Dasgupta have been involved in a verbal duel for several weeks now over gas pricing and related issues.
Countering Moily`s contention on the issue, Dasgupta said previous Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy had "issued an order imposing penalty on RIL for deliberately reducing the production level. It is amazing that he (Moily) says that the file did not come to him."
"The matter was in the public domain. Everybody knew the penalty that had been imposed but the minister who succeeds Jaipal Reddy does not know the matter," he said.
Dasgupta alleged that "the collusion of the Minister with the corporate is clear. He wants to condone the criminality of underproduction and consequent damage to the Indian economy and allow the corporate to grab 6000 sq km in violation of the contract."
"All of us would welcome massive investment in the oil and gas sector to make India self-reliant but that cannot be at the cost of loot of national resources," he said.
Terming Dasgupta`s allegations as "baseless and malicious," Moily had yesterday said attempts were being made to derail his efforts to bring back the sector to the path of efficiency so that USD 160 billion oil imports, that have drained the economy, can be curtailed.