Govt will safeguard NTPC's interest

Ministerial panel deliberates on amendement of petition

According to sources, this agreement was reached at the  meeting of group of ministers (GOM) on the gas pricing issue arising out of the legal battle between two Ambani brothers held here on Tuesday.

The GOM was understood to have suggested that the government in its petition before the Supreme Court on the gas issue could incorporate the NTPC’s claim for getting natural gas from the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) at a low price committed in 2004, sources said.

The GOM deliberated on whether to amend its petition before the Supreme Court in the light of protecting NTPC’s interest in the complicated gas pricing issue,  sources said.

But it is not clear whether the government will incorporate the NTPC’s claim to get gas at reduced price from the RIL as per the commitment given by the Mukesh Ambani-owned firm, in the petition lying before the apex court or file altogether a fresh petition. Law Minister Veerappa Moily said “NTPC issue has been sorted out.” “The Petroleum Ministry has filed the Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court, if any amendment is to be made they will do it at the the Supreme Court. One will see the final thing (relating to petition) in the court only,” he said.         

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. Further, GOM suggested that the government would clarify that the $4,2 per mmBtu price fixed for RIL’s KG gas was without prejudice to the NTPC’s case.

Anil hails move
Meanwhile, Anil Ambani Group firm RNRL welcomed the government’s move to protect NTPC’s interest on sourcing gas from Reliance Industries, saying effective legal steps will defeat the Mukesh Ambani firm’s “malafide attempts to dishonour” its commitment.

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