Solid politics of gas

Solid politics of gas


he on-going high-voltage legal battle between the Ambani brothers over the supply of gas from the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin has now turned into full-blown political controversy at the Centre. In fact, the three-year old legal wrangling between the brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani over the gas issue is gaining political overtone ever since the Petroleum Ministry decided to become a party in the case now lying before the Supreme Court.

The high profile corporate warfare has kicked-off political dust because the Petroleum Ministry filed a separate case in the SC against the 2006 family agreement between the brothers and that prompted an embittered Anil Ambani to make many indirect allegations against the Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.

Deora reportedly said: “RIL and RNRL cannot decide between themselves how the gas — which is a national asset and vests with the government of India — is to be distributed. 
Any understanding arrived at between them is not binding on the government. ”

The last-minute decision of the Petroleum Ministry to intervene in the case has enraged Anil so much that he has virtually launched a direct attack on the Ministry saying that its stance in the gas supply dispute between his company Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) owned by Mukesh Ambani was serving the “plain and simple corporate greed” of one “monolith gas producer”. (See the accompanying story).

Biased stance

Though Anil has not named any individual, the reference to Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has become distinctly clear when he said “it is evident that the apparently biased stance commenced in 2006 coinciding with changes in the (Petroleum) Ministry. ” In 2006 Deora replaced Mani Shankar Aiyar as the Petroleum Minister. Thus, analysts feel, Anil has tried to drive home the point that the Petroleum Ministry’s last minute intervention in the gas dispute case at the Supreme Court has been guided by “extraneous” factors like Deora’s proximity to Mukesh.

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