Criticising the government for "keeping quiet" for long on the Ambani MoU that provides for dividing a national resource, former oil minister Ram Naik said on Thursday the ministry should have made a stronger case in the Bombay High Court to protect its policy.
Naik, the architect of the landmark New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) that opened up oil and gas hunt to private and foreign investments, said that private family pacts cannot override national priorities for use of gas.
"I am very surprised that the Petroleum Ministry kept quiet for such a long time. They should have intervened effectively in the Bombay High Court itself," Naik told PTI from Mumbai when contacted.
The High Court first heard the dispute between the firms run by brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani and it was only after it gave effect to division of gas from fields-operated by Reliance Industries that the government moved Supreme Court.
Naik said he had also written to the Prime Minister last month seeking "his personal indulgence to strongly counter (transfer of more than one-third of peak output from RIL's KG-D6 fields to Anil's RNRL at a fixed price for 17 years) and immediately step in to re-establish the sanctity of the Production Sharing Contract.
"Allowing a family MoU to distort marketing arrangements and restrict everyone else's access to gas defeats the very purpose of (NELP) and the PSCs under which this exploration is to be done," he wrote.