The Congress Tuesday demanded a court-monitored probe by experts to look into the affairs of ONGC in the past 52 months as it alleged a "systematic and calibrated" attempt by the government to destroy the country's public sector.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said ONGC Employees Mazdoor Sabha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the public-sector oil giant has been turned from a cash-rich company to totally debt-ridden that has to resort to avail overdraft facility in order to discharge the salary obligation of employees.
"We would like to demand that in the light of these very-very serious facts which have been put on the record by the ONGC Mazdoor Sangh, the Supreme Court must appoint a panel of experts to go into the entire gamut of what happened to the ONGC in the past 52 months," he told reporters.
"Our fear is that possibly what has been detailed in the letter, far-far more will emerge because this points to a systematic pattern to demolish the public sector in India one by one," he also said.
The Congress leader said what has happened to ONGC is somewhat similar to what is happening to the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), from which the Rafale offset contract has been taken away.
"If you juxtapose this to what has happened to HAL, then ONGC, there seems to be a systematic and a calibrated attempt to completely destroy the public sector in India," he said.
The former union minister alleged that the government is interfering in the decision-making of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation that was hampering its progress and sought the prime minister's intervention in passing necessary instructions to the oil ministry to give a free hand to the company, failing which will prove disastrous.
Tewari said the government interference in the company has "broken the economic backbone" of the public concern.
He alleged that this was like "plundering" the state's largesse and company has been "systematically crippled" and made debt ridden.
Tewari recalled that had not been for the public banks, India would not have survived the great economic meltdown in 2008.
The Congress leader recalled that on June 26, 2005, the then chief minister of Gujarat Modi made a very "bombastic announcement" that the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) had discovered 20 Trillion cubic ft of gas valued at over Rs. 2.20,000 crore.
He added that close to Rs 19,000 crore was spent in trying to discover gas in that oil field but no gas came out and to cover up the matter, the ONGC was "forcibly" asked to take over the company.
He alleged that there is a "huge scam" called Geo Global scam which it will address later.
Tewari alleged due to government's continued interference, the ONGC's debt has doubled to Rs 1,11,533 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 55,619 crore in 2016-17.
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