New Delhi: Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) denied in filings before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it had treated or used natural gas from the D6 block in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin as private property—a contention made by a government petition in July.
On the contrary, despite its own captive gas requirements for petrochemical plants and refineries, it had not been allocated any gas by the government, RIL said in the filings.
Family agreement: The Supreme Court building. Reliance reiterates that it is not a signatory to the memorandum of understanding between the Ambani brothers and has no obligations under it. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Ahead of the crucial hearing in the case involving RIL and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) starting on 20 October, RIL said it had acted throughout in line with provisions of the production sharing contract and other policies of the government.
The company reiterated that it is not a signatory to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ambani brothers and has no obligations under it.
The 2005 MoU dealt with the division of the Reliance group between the estranged brothers.
The government on 18 July filed a petition in the apex court challenging the Bombay high court verdict of 15 June, which had asked RIL and RNRL to sign a “suitable arrangement” for the supply of gas to the latter at a price 44% below the price set by the government.
The government argued that the high court had given priority to a private family arrangement over the production sharing contract and other policies of the government.
The government’s petition wanted the June 2005 family arrangement to be nullified on grounds that the Ambani brothers were treating the D6 natural gas as private property.
On 1 September, it amended the petition, ostensibly protecting the interests of state-owned power utility NTPC Ltd, but effectively reversing its own stated legal position.
The government restricted itself to the issue of its sovereign right to decide the pricing of the scarce natural resource and clarified that it was not concerned with the private dispute between the Ambani brothers and doesn’t want the MoU to be nullified, a move which was seen by observers as a flip-flop. The revised petition recognizes the dispute between the Ambanis as a purely commercial one and also upholds the agreement NTPC claims it has with RIL.