Mumbai: The Union government on Thursday withdrew its affidavit to the Bombay high court which had stated that natural gas from fields off the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin could only be sold by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) at a government-approved price.
The affidavit was filed last month by S.M. Sundaram, undersecretary in the ministry for petroleum and natural gas, in the ongoing case between RIL and Anil Ambani-led Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) over sharing and pricing of gas from RIL’s fields off the eastern coast of India.
Legal wrangle: A file photograph of Mukesh Ambani (R) and his younger brother Anil Ambani at a meeting in Mumbai. Arko Datta / Reuters
The petroleum ministry had filed the affidavit saying “all gas” would be sold at the approved price of $4.2 (Rs204) per million British thermal unit (mBtu), the same position as RIL has taken.
The government withdrew the after the counsel for RNRL had sought to cross-examine Sundaram.
RNRL is claiming 28 million standard cubic metres of gas a day for 17 years at a price of $2.34 per mBtu. The case has been adjourned till 12 January.
Milind Sathe, counsel for RIL, denied the withdrawal was a setback for the firm, saying, “Hopefully the government counsel’s oral submission in January will be the same as what they said in the affidavit. This was just to stop the cross-examining.”
Additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran, the government counsel who informed the court of the withdrawal, also said that “this is not a step backward.”
(PTI contributed to this story.)