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With CAG allegations looming, Murli Deora offers to resign

Former oil minister and current corporate affairs minister Murli Deora has offered to resign, according to sources.

Deora sent his resignation to the Congress President several days ago.

The Parliamentarian from Mumbai has been coming under increasing attack for his alleged failure to save the tax-payer’s interests from oil companies.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had used sharp words for the way the oil ministry, under him, had failed to exercise due caution to prevent private oil exploration firms from siphoning off government’s profits from oil and gas blocks.

Asked about further action, the current oil minister Jaipal Reddy had hinted that the government will not try to protect anyone who is found to have aided private companies make more money than what was duly theirs from their contracts with the government.

Under India’s oil policy, the oil belongs to the State, but anyone finding it is entitled to take between 2 to 7 times what they spent on find and extracting the oil or gas. As a result, private companies can, technically, increase their returns by simply spending more by using the most expensive components and services.

Deora, however, is known to have given his age and a desire to “work for the party” as the reason for his proposed resignation.

“Our audit review also revealed that, by and large, the Ministry and the Director General of Hydrocarbons (both through the Management Committee and otherwise) did not pay adequate intention to protecting – at every stage of E&P, be it exploration, development or production – GoI’s financial interests (specifically in terms of exercising adequate control on recoverable costs and monitoring “with a hawk’s eye” how every proposal/ decision would potentially affect GoI’s share of profit petroleum),” the CAG, the statutory auditor, had written in its draft report sent several weeks ago to the oil ministry.

It is not reliably known whether Deora’s offer of resignation was prior to or after the submission of the draft findings by CAG to Jaipal Reddy.

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