Reliance Natural Resources chairman Anil Ambani on Tuesday accused the Petroleum Ministry of being biased in the legal dispute with brother Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries over the price of natural gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.
Addressing shareholders of the company, he also said the government would not lose a single rupee even if the gas from the fields off the Andhra Pradesh coast were to be supplied to his company at the originally contracted price of $2.34 per unit.
"The gas price of $2.34 per unit was not decided by two brothers on the dinner table," Anil Ambani said, adding the price was based on the prevailing global oil scenario and legitimately approved by the Reliance Industries board in 2005.
Last month, the Bombay High Court had asked Reliance Industries to supply 28 million units of gas to Reliance Natural Resources for 17 years at $2.34 per unit, after assigning 12 million units to the state-run power utility NTPC.
Reliance Industries challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court, which heard the case July 20 and fixed Sep 1 as the next date of hearing. It also asked all the parties to file their replies on the government position on the matter by then.
Anil Ambani said his Reliance Natural Resources was not claiming ownership of the gas assets as was being made out by the petroleum ministry but only staking the legitimate claim over the supplies, based on a corporate agreement.
According to him, if the government so desired, it had ample leeway to even take over the gas assets. He also sought to bring to light what he called were questionable actions by the oil ministry ever since changes were made at its top level in 2006.
"For the record, I want to emphasise that the government does not stand to lose even a single rupee even if Reliance Industries sells the gas at lower than approved valuation price to any party," he contended.
"If Reliance Industries gets a higher sale price from us based on the price of what the petroleum ministry wants to fix for the first few years, 99 percent of all revenues and profits will go to Reliance Industries," he said.
"Only a measly 1 percent will accrue to government of India."
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said he could not comment on the scathing accusations levelled against his ministry by Anil Ambani as the matter was sub-judice.
Anil Ambani said Reliance Industries, founded by his late father Dhirubhai Ambani, was misusing its power as India's largest company and the near monopoly it enjoyed over natural gas production.
"It is unfortunate that Reliance Industries has tried every trick in the book, and apparently several outside the book, to back out of its solemn, legal and contractual agreement."