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Power ministry on legal guard

The Power Ministry is holding consultations with the Attorney General of India (AGI) to protect the interests of the power industry particularly its crown jewel public sector firm NTPC, which is looking for natural gas at the heart of the row between the estranged Ambani brothers. Anupama Airy reports.

business Updated: Jul 28, 2009 21:19 IST
Anupama Airy

The Power Ministry is holding consultations with the Attorney General of India (AGI) to protect the interests of the power industry particularly its crown jewel public sector firm NTPC, which is looking for natural gas at the heart of the row between the estranged Ambani brothers.

However, the ministry said it would wait for the outcome of Bombay High Court battle on the ongoing dispute between Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and NTPC before it decides on its future course of action including the option to move Supreme Court, where the brothers dispute is due for hearing soon.

Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confirmed holding legal consultations with AGI, but declined to elaborate, saying the matter was sub-judice.

The consultations follow the Petroleum Ministry’s special leave petition filed in the Supreme Court on July 18 . The ministry had asked for scrapping the Ambani family’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the distribution of gas produced from RIL’s D6 gas field in the Krishna-Godavari basin.

As the MoU also details the distribution of 12 million standard cubic metres of gas per day to NTPC, the Power Ministry decided to take a legal view.

“While nothing has been decided so far, legal experts have told us that the MoU between the Ambani brothers has got nothing to do with NTPC’s share of gas,” the official said adding that the price of $2.34 per unit and quantity of gas was fixed under a contract after global bidding. “The family MoU has no role to play in NTPC’s battle with RIL,” he said.

Putting at rest speculation that the Power Ministry would file its own Supreme Court petition the official said, “Why should we go to the Supreme Court until a final verdict is given in the NTPC-RIL matter in the High Court?”