LPG subsidy: HC notices to oil cos, govt for ghost connections

INDORE: Taking cognizance of large-scale irregularities in distribution of LPG subsidy, Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh high court on Friday issued notices to Union government, state government and oil companies – Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil- giving them four-week time to reply.

While hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed by software consultant Chanchal Gupta, who also runs a LPG helpline, double bench of Justices PK Jaiswal and DK Paliwal issued notices and observed that it is a sensitive issue and needs attention.

Advocate Amitabh Upadhaya said the country has 15 crore LPG consumers and Indore district, alone, has around 9.2 lakh consumers, of which around 2.39 lakh connections are under scanner. “As per an estimate, in Indore, around Rs 57 crore of subsidies are pocketed by companies and agencies in the name of ghost connection,” said Upadhaya.

Petitioner Chanchal Gupta said they have come across many instances, where connections are given on fictitious name and fake address. “Gas agencies, in convenience of oil companies, are pocketing large amount of subsidy money,” said Gupta, adding that they have submitted several documental evidence along with the petition.

He said court should order physical verification of all connections to find out ghost connections and recover the money taken by these agencies and companies in last few years, in the name of subsidy. “DBTL was launched to check irregularities in gas subsidy, but agencies continue to manipulate the system,” said Gupta.