Soon after “Bhumi Pujan” for Dhamra LNJ Terminal, senior Congress leader Srikant Jena today alleged there was a big scam behind shifting the project from Paradip and giving major stake to a private company, and demanded a CBI probe into the matter. “The LNG Terminal was originally slated to be set up at Paradip port, but the project site was shifted to Dhamra after the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre. There was a big scam behind the move,” the former Union Minister said. There should be a CBI inquiry into the circumstances in which the LNG project was shifted and virtually handed over to a corporate giant and to ascertain who was instrumental in the whole episode, Jena said.
“I also demand a thorough audit of the matter by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG),” the Congress leader said adding the agreement for establishing the 5 MTPA Capacity LNG terminal at Dhamra should also be cancelled forthwith. The former Union Minister said an MoU had been signed in August, 2013 for setting up the LNG terminal at Paradip for which Paradip Port Trust (PPT) was to invest Rs 650 crore and GAIL Rs 2,480 crore.
The plan was to commission a 4.4 MMTPA capacity terminal in the first phase by 2017, he said. However, after NDA came to power at the Centre, GAIL backed out and the project was shifted to Dhamra. As per the agreement, 49 per cent stake was given to Adani, 38 per cent to IOCL and 11 per cent to GAIL, while financial institutions would hold the rest two per cent, Jena claimed and sought to know as to why no auction was done. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about transparency, he should give a clarification on the matter, and Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan should also make things clear to dispel doubts from people’s mind.
Jena also lashed out at the ruling BJD in Odisha for being silent over the issue and asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to explain as to why is is not uttering a word. Neither Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan nor senior officials of his ministry were available for comment on Jena’s allegations.