Centre terms Anil Group ad campaign 'unfortunate'

Says it would stand to gain more revenue by determining gas price


Seeking to “correct the ongoing propaganda” against it in matters some of which are sub-judice in courts, the government asserted that the government would stand to gain more revenue by exercising its right to determine the pricing of gas price.

“An allegation has been made that in the contract of KG-D6 Project, the government would get only Rs 500 crore as against the contractor’s stake of Rs 50,000 crore.  This allegation is incorrect.  Government expects to in fact realise about Rs 84,000 crore.  
The recovery of the Government will be increased towards the latter part of the project,” the government said in a statement issue here. Significantly, the decision to issue the statement countering the propaganda launched by the Anil Ambani Group was taken by the Group of Ministers (GOM) at its meeting held Thursday night.

In the face of growing controversy over the government becoming a party to the legal battle between the Ambani brothers on the issue of supply of gas from the KG basin the Prime Minister constituted the GOM to firm up government stand on the issue now lying before the Supreme Court.  

The GOM headed by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee comprise of Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
The GOM is primarily looking into what should be the government stand on the legal dispute between the Ambani brothers and state-owned power manufacturing unit NTPC’s legal tussle with the RIL-owned by the Mukesh Ambani.

While NTPC is fighting to get gas from RIL at a committed price of  $2.34 per mmBtu, Anil Ambani group firm RNRL has dragged Reliance Industries for obtaining gas at the same price under a family settlement reached in 2005.  The legal battle between the two Ambani brothers has transformed into a major controversy ever since the Petroleum Ministry moved a petition in the Supreme Court to become a party in the dispute over pricing of gas. 

Political overtone

The controversy has assumed political overtone with the Anil Ambani Group accusing the Petroleum Ministry favouring the RIL-owned by Mukesh Ambani.

The government, in fact, finds itself in a tight spot. While on one hand Petroleum Ministry is opposing RNRL of the Anil Ambani Group getting the gas from RIL at a discounted price of $2.34 per mmBtu on the other the NTPC is challenging refusal on the part of RIL to supply gas to it at the same price as per the commitment given earlier.

In the midst of controversy over gas pricing, the GOM’s dilemma is how to strive for identical stand on litigation between power PSU NTPC and Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, and that between the group firms of two Ambani brothers.

Fighting a bitter battle to get the gas from RIL at a committed price of 2.34 dollar per mmBtu for RNRL, Anil Ambani Group had last Monday started a front-page ad campaign in some of the dailies questioning the Petroleum Ministry’s role on the gas issue and alleging that it was going out of way to help RIL earn a super-normal profit of Rs 50,000 crore.

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