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Not favouring Mukesh: Oil Ministry to PMO

Last Updated: Saturday, August 8, 2009 - 17:30

New Delhi: The Oil Ministry has informed Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh it was not favouring Mukesh Ambani in
his ongoing tussle with younger brother Anil and it had moved
Supreme Court only to protect its rights on natural gas.

Responding to queries raised by the Prime Minister`s
Office on the basis of a letter to Singh from Anil Ambani,
Petroleum Ministry said in a communication that it has not
shown any favouritism to Mukesh-led Reliance Industries.

Lawyers had advised that the only way out was to go to
Supreme Court to protect sovereign rights on gas, given the
the Bombay High Court judgement that gave effect to the Ambani
brothers` agreement on gas, the Petroleum Ministry reply said.

Anil had written to the Prime Minister on July 15 seeking
direction to the Oil Ministry to stop favouring Reliance
Industries in a commercial dispute between them.

The Oil Ministry has filed a special leave petition in the
Supreme Court challenging the High Court ruling of June 15
that asked RIL to supply gas to Anil group firm RNRL at a
committed price of USD 2.34 per mmBtu and work out a suitable
agreement for it.

The government`s SLP will be considered for admissibility
by the apex court on September 1, the same day when the
cross-appeals by the group firms of the two brothers is to
come up for hearing.

The letter explained in detail how government rights were
affected because of the final order of Bombay High Court,
which gave effect to the MoU.

In the interim order of the High Court, the government`s
rights were upheld, but in the final order they impacted the
government policy on gas utilisation, the Oil Ministry`s
communication said.

It also said that various ministries as also Andhra
Pradesh, the landfall point of gas from KG-D6 basin, had
written to the Petroleum Ministry seeking protection of rights
on gas.

The PMO had late last month asked the Petroleum Ministry
for comments on issues raised by Anil in a letter, wherein the
industrialist urged Singh to direct the ministry to "cease
from overtly and covertly attempting to intervene in our
commercial dispute with RIL".

"We have recently seen a spate of unfortunate public
utterances with unusual frequency, by various functionaries in
the Petroleum Ministry... in a manner not witnessed in any
other part of the government that too on a matter that is
sub-judice in the Supreme Court," Anil`s letter said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 8, 2009 - 17:30

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