EC asks Gujarat oil minister to disclose relations with Ambanis

By on April 2, 2014

A move to get offensive on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal seems to have backfired on Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel


His bid to take on Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal seems to have backfired on Gujarat Energy and Petroleum Minister Saurabh Patel, who has been asked by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to disclose his relationship with the Ambani family, promoters of Reliance Group.


Patel is married to the late Dhirubhai Ambani’s niece. He is said to be very close to Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. He is also one of the contenders to take over as Gujarat chief minister if Modi went on to assume a new role at the national level.


The ECI’s directive to Patel to give details of his relation with the Ambani family and the portfolios he holds in the Gujarat government comes in the wake of Patel’s lodging a complaint with the ECI against Kejriwal.


During his four-day visit to Gujarat, Kejriwal had alleged the Modi government had included Patel in his council of ministers and allotted him portfolios of petroleum, petrochemicals, energy and industries to favour Mukesh Ambani and his company Reliance Industries.


Offended by the allegation Patel had filed a complaint with the ECI seeking action against Kejriwal for violation of model code of conduct.


“Gujarat minister Saurabh Patel had lodged complaint against Kejriwal for personal remarks against him. Based on this complaint ECI has asked Patel to furnish nature of his relation with the Ambanis and give details of portfolios he holds in Gujarat government,” an official of the Gujarat election commission said.

“Patel is yet to respond to the information sought by the ECI,” he added.


Patel is married to late Dhirubhai Ambani’s niece. He could not be reached for comments.


Patel currently holds portfolios of energy and petrochemicals, mines and minerals, cottage industries, salt industries, printing, stationary, planning, tourism, civil aviation, labour and employment. He has been holding the energy and petrochemicals portfolio in the Modi government as minister of state since December 2002.


He was elevated to the cabinet rank after the 2012 Assembly elections. Patel won assembly election Akota seat in Vadodara district.

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