While distancing itself from the private arrangement (the memorandum of understanding) between the Ambani brothers, the government on Tuesday in yet another application filed before the Supreme Court made it clear its policies and contracts on gas pricing and production would prevail over any private arrangement.
The fresh application by the government said, “It is not the intention of the government to enter into the arena of the private arrangement or question the validity of the MoU.”
The government clarified that “it is in no way concerned with the private dispute between RIL (owned by Mukesh) and
The rights and obligations between RIL and NTPC cannot be regarded similar in status to the private arrangement between RIL and RNRL.
Anil Ambani Chairman, ADAG
With the filing of today's application, the role of government in RNRL-RIL matter remains limited only to the interpretation of gas utilisation policy and provisions of the Production Sharing Contract.
However, it stated that “It (government) is only concerned with its rights as owner and regulator of natural gas.”
Under the family MoU, the two Ambani brothers--- Anil and Mukesh –had divided between themselves the entire gas to be produced from the D6 gas fields of RIL in the Krishna Godavari basin off the Andhra coast.
Alongside, the government also upheld state-owned power company—NTPC Ltd’s long standing demand of being provided gas at $2.34 per unit—a price quoted by RIL under a global tender. It clarified that the government’s price of $4.2 per unit is without prejudice to NTPC’s dispute with RIL.
In its Special Leave Petition (SLP) of July 18, the government had cited this family MOU as “blatantly illegal” and “detrimental to national interests.”
The government had asked the apex court to declare this MOU as “null and void.”
Asked if it was a turnaround of the government’s earlier stand, additional solicitor general and government’s counsel in the case Mohan Prasaran said, “We cannot run a parallel battle outside the court.”
“The matter is subjudice and I will only speak in the court now.”
Welcoming the amendments proposed by the government to its earlier petition on the Ambani gas row, Anil Ambani said his group company RNRL's dispute with Mukesh-led RIL was commercial and pertained to the demerger of the Reliance businesses.
“RNRL is grateful to the government for its neutral stand in proposing these amendments.”
“With the filing of today's application, the role of government in RNRL-RIL matter remains limited only to the interpretation of gas utilisation policy and provisions of the Production Sharing Contract,” he said.
“This is exactly the same scope of intervention that was permitted to the government by the Bombay High Court.”
“I welcome legal steps by the government to protect NTPC from potential losses…and on preserving the wider public and national interest.