New Delhi: The Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-Adag) said on Thursday that it was surprised at the haste shown by the oil ministry in defending the “apparently inflated” costs incurred by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in developing natural gas fields.
Pricing war: A file photo of RIL’s KG basin.
R-Adag also sought a speedy audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and independent revalidation of the expenses. CAG audits the accounts of state and central institutions.
“We were surprised to learn from media...that RIL...justified the massive escalation in development costs... We were also surprised that the petroleum ministry, within the short time of less than a day that was available for verification, defended RIL’s apparently inflated capital expenditure,” R-Adag group president A.N. Sethuraman wrote in a letter to petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey.
In a related development, RIL on Thursday hit out at state-owned power utility NTPC Ltd for misleading the government by saying that it was not aware of the condition that the price of gas to be supplied to it was subject to the Union government’s approval.
“NTPC’s letter to the government at this stage is clearly an afterthought intended to mislead the government,” RIL’s petroleum business chief P.M.S. Prasad wrote in a letter to Pandey. NTPC is fighting against RIL at the Bombay high court over the pricing of gas from the latter’s field in the Krishna-Godavari basin.
A three-year-old corporate battle between RIL and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd, a group company of R-Adag, over the pricing of gas from the same field, has escalated to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear arguments on the case on 1 September.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is likely to defer its hearing on the dispute between RIL and RNRL to 4 September, as chief justice K.G. Balakrishnan may lead a constitutional bench of the court on 1 Spetember, people aware of the development said on condition of anonymity.
Matters pertaining to the gas dispute is scheduled to be heard by a three-judge bench headed by the chief justice on 1 September.
There has been no official confirmation on the possible change of dates.