New Delhi: In his sharpest attack on critics of the gas price hike decision, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily on Thursday accused CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and his "accomplices" in the petroleum ministry of carrying out a malicious campaign for vested interests.
Moily, who for the past year faced the embarrassing situation of his official notes finding their way into the hands of Dasgupta and other opponents of the hike in gas prices within hours of signing them, released an angry statement alleging a nexus between some within his ministry and those outside working to stall the move.
Denying any mala fide in his decision making, Moily refused to name the so-called accomplices even though it was widely believed he was hinting at officials in the ministry`s exploration division.
"Dasgupta has been making false, baseless and misleading allegations against me frequently in the past and all those have been convincingly rebutted by me," he said in a signed statement.
"The present allegation (of attempts to circumvent an Election Commission ban on raising gas prices) is also one in the series of such malicious campaign for the reasons best known to Gurudas Dasgupta and his accomplices, both inside and outside the ministry," Moily said.
Moily said he asked his ministry to notify the revised price for April-June based on the formula approved by the Cabinet and notified on January 10, soon after the general elections ends and the model code of conduct is lifted.
"Therefore, the allegation that this order on the file note sheet is in contravention to the Election Commission directive to favour any individual operator is completely baseless, malicious and misleading and is denied in toto," he said.
The statement came a day after Dasgupta wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath for "openly defying" the poll watchdog`s directive to hold back the gas price revision until completion of the Lok Sabha elections.