Skip to main content

IAS babu's appointment in Prime Minister's Office reversed "under pressure" from top industry house

By Our Representative
A top source, known to have worked in close proximity with former Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi before Modi took over as India’s Prime Minister, has raised an alarm: The appointment of RN Choubey, a 1981 batch IAS officer, in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was “cancelled” overnight “under pressure" from industrial houses, including Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). While official reason being cited for this is, the Modi government doesn’t want the PMO to become “heavy top”, actually a similar situation prevailed in October 2013, when Choubey was eased out as director-general hydrocarbons (DGH) by the UPA government for "differing" with RIL.
“It is highly unlikely that the PMO did not know Choubey’s background before appointing him as a Modi aide”, the source, who did not want to reveal his name, declared. Choubey was brought in as DGH in 2012 in order to revamp the body, which had been accused by CBI and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of being “soft” towards private oil companies while enforcing production sharing contracts (PSC). The RIL was particularly accused of deliberately digging fewer wells than envisaged in the development plan, leading to sharp fall in output.
Choubey was eased out of DGH in October 2013 under controversial circumstances, and the issue acquired political dimension. Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta immediately alleged that then petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily “removed DGH Choubey to favour Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL).” Moily’s predecessor S Jaipal Reddy had locked horns with RIL, which is why Reddy is said to have lost his job. Choubey was handpicked by Reddy in 2012 for the powerful DGH post, which is empowered to all major decisions as regulator in oil and gas exploration. 
Choubey
Under Reddy's tenure, RIL was penalized over US$ 1 billion for falling output from its KG Basin gas fields, which the RIL was involved in exploration under a contract with the Government of India. The huge fine is said to have become the main reason for Reddy’s removal from post, which he held between January 2011 and October 2012. Reliance argued that the falling output from the KG Basin was because it had “overestimated the reserves in the fields”, an argument rejected by Reddy, who ordered the imposition of the penalty.
In his letter to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Dasgupta had said that the DGH’s removal was a “sinister ploy”. “The present incumbent was appointed in June 2012 for tenure of three years. The plan currently underway to transfer him prematurely is a sinister ploy by the petroleum minister, who is acting at the behest of RIL in the matter”, Dasgupta had insisted.
Choubey, Dasgupta insisted, had “independent views” on the manner in which the RIL was refusing relinquish KG Basin’s D-6 blocks, off Andhra Pradesh coast. “By stalling the relinquishment of an area having 1,150 billion cubic feet of gas, Moily was trying to provide a windfall profit worth Rs 60,000 crore to the RIL”, Dasgupta said. The DGH had proposed relinquishment of eight discoveries of 6,601 sq km at the KG-D6 block.
Dasgupta
The RIL was accused of violating terms of PSC governing the KG blocks, deliberate underproduction, deliberate underproduction, and making efforts to put the D-6 field of KG Basin for auction. Instead of penalizing the RIL, the Government of India “rewarded” it by deciding to increase the price of natural gas from USD 4.2 per million British thermal unit (mbtu) to USD 8.4 mbtu from April 1, 2014, an issue immediately taken up by Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal to say RIL was the UPA government’s “dukaan”.
Significantly, Choubey was appointed additional secretary in the PMO three days ago by shifting Shatrughna Singh from PMO to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Choubey belongs to the Tamil Nadu cadre. After his removal from the DGH posting in 2013, he worked as additional secretary in Union ministry of power. Earlier, he was development commissioner (handlooms) the Union ministry of textiles.

Comments

Anonymous said…
not a good signal from the new government.. by bringing in honest and dedicated officer like mr choubey government would have sent a right signal to the people..disappointing
Arvind said…
Definataly... An Honest officer like Mr R.N.Coubey is deserving candidate in PMO. but its a bad signal for Government to removal from PMO.

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.