In the thick of the Ambani brothers' dispute, lawmakers on Thurday demanded that Mukesh Ambani-led RIL's gas fields be nationalised but the government turned it down.
Cutting across party lines, MPs in Rajya Sabha expressed deep concern over the dispute and said the private contractor (RIL) should not be allowed to enter into a memorandum of understanding for distribution of gas from a national asset.
The "old days of nationalisation are gone," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said, responding to the debate on a calling-attention motion moved by CPI-M's Tapan Kumar Sen, adding that the government had nothing to do with the private dispute between the Ambani brothers - Mukesh and Anil.
"Will government consider and take urgent step to take over the distribution and marketing of the gas at well-head so that it can be utilised for national priorities?" Sen asked.
Among those who demanded the government's intervention to save national assets from being appropriated through a family settlement were Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, JD-U's N K Singh, Shiv Sena's Bharatkumar Raut and CPI's D Raja, besides Congress Alka Balram Kshatriya.
Deora asserted that the government-fixed price of USD 4.2 per mmBtu for gas from RIL's KG-D6 fields was lower than rates charged by others like UK's BG Group and Cairn India.
The comments came in the midst of wrangling both inside and outside court between Ambanis over supply of gas from RIL to Anil Ambani group's RNRL at USD 2.34 per mmbtu.