Govt to amend petitions on case relating to Ambani gas dispute


As the political overtone over the legal battle between Ambani brothers over the gas supply from the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin intensifies with Anil Ambani alleging  Petroleum Ministry favouring Mukesh Ambani, the government is contemplating to  amend its petition in the Supreme Court on the case relating to gas dispute between Ambani brothers.

The contours of proposed changes in the petition filed by the Petroleum Ministry last month are understood to have been finalised at the inter-ministerial meetings Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held with the Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and the Law Minister Veerappa Moily. The amendments to the Petroleum Ministry’s petition will be filed next week, official sources told Deccan Herald.

The contemplated amendments would seek to challenge some part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RLRL) over the supply of gas from the KG basin, which is currently owned by the RIL, sources said.

Main thrust

The major thrust of the proposed amendments to the government petition would be on de-linking the Production Sharing Contract between the government and the RIL from family settlement, sources said.  During two rounds of discussions Mukherjee had with Deora and Moilly the three ministers were understood to have detected “some technical defects” in the government petition, sources said.

At the second round of the inter-ministerial meeting, which was held on Friday night, it was decided that the government would move amendments to its petition to remove these “technical defects”, sources said. 

Both Mukherjee and Moilly were understood to have supported the Petroleum Ministry’s Special Leave Petition filed with the Supreme Court on July 18 in connection with the Ambani brothers’ gas dispute as both the ministers agreed with Deora that the division of gas between the two brothers was “unfair” to the government as well as national interest.

Moily has gone on record saying the government was fully behind Deora and would not make any compromise on its right over national resources.

Left parties’ suggestion

The ongoing corporate warfare   assumes another political dimension with the Left Parties urging the  government to take over the marketing and distribution of gas produced by the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to ensure that national asset is not surreptitiously appropriated as “family property”.  Several Members of Parliament belonging to the Left parties in a letter to the Prime Minister demanded that the government must take over the marketing rights of gas produced by the RIL in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin. In the face of “surreptitious and unauthorised” bid of appropriating the country’s sovereign natural resources as “family property” by some private players as pointed out in government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court, the Left parties said that government must take over distribution and marketing rights of KG-D6 basin gas.

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