Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Monday told the Delhi High Court that AAP government was “never entitled” to lodge an FIR against it over the alleged irregularities in raising the price of gas. RIL told Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva to quash the FIR lodged by Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi government in 2014, saying it did not have the jurisdiction to probe such matter.
“Delhi government was never entitled to lodge this FIR. This FIR has to be quashed as it has been lodged by a police station (ACB) which does not have the jurisdiction,” senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for RIL, told the court which sought the response of AAP government on the company’s plea.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his first stint had asked the ACB to lodge an FIR in the matter despite the fact that the anti-corruption agency did not have any jurisdiction to probe the matter, said the company.
In reference to August 4 judgment of the division bench of the high court which held that powers of the ACB were limited to probing graft cases in various departments which were under the administrative authority of the Lt. Governor and not extending to central government employees.
The RIL, erstwhile UPA ministers M. Veerappa Moily and Murli Deora (since deceased), RIL’s Chairman Mukesh Ambani, former Director General of Hydro Carbons V.K. Sibal were named in the FIR lodged by the ACB in 2014. All of them denied the allegations.
RIL had told the high court that the AAP government’s decision to probe the Centre’s policy on gas pricing was “peculiar” and “absurd”. RIL has challenged the then Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s decision to lodge an FIR in the matter.
The FIR was lodged by ACB on a complaint sent to the Chief Minister by former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanian, former Secretary E A S Sarma, former Navy Chief Admiral R H Tahiliani and advocate Kamini Jaiswal. The FIR was lodged under sections 420 (cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The complaint, on the basis of which the FIR was lodged in 2014, alleged that impact of gas price rise would cost the country a minimum of Rs 54,500 crore per year at current dollar price.