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Energy Companies Run Afoul of India’s Official Auditor

India’s Controller and Auditor General insists that his mandate includes “unfettered access” to investigate the fiscal accounts of private companies, including India’s Reliance Industries conglomerate and foreign operators such as British Gas and that the government back his inquiries.

The Times of India reported the Controller and Auditor General Vinod Rai stated in a press release that the government overrode objections from private oil firms by stating that the CAG audit body had the right to look into concerns regarding production-sharing contracts, adding, "Whether spectrum or profit-sharing in petroleum, these are performance audits because public goods have been made available to a private partner to exploit."

In June 2006 the Finance Ministry had backed such audits as being within the CAG's responsibilities. Rai's comments are a significant assertion on part of CAG to counter impressions made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent remarks about a leaked CAG audit report on Reliance Industries offshore KG-D6 natural gas fields. Singh criticized the report for implying a loss of projected government revenue and indicated that CAG should stick to its constitutional mandate.

Rai said, "We did the audit under the aegis of the (petroleum) ministry. Even when we got the replies, it was through the ministry. We have told the ministry that the portions that concern any private operator should be shared with all three operators to get their inputs."

By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com



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