The second round of hearing on the Ambani brothers’ gas dispute began in the Supreme Court on Thursday with Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) repeating most of its arguments before a new bench constituted after Justice R.V. Raveendran withdrew citing conflict of interest.
But, the proceedings were in sharp contrast to the first six days when Justice Raveendran as a part of the bench posed several probing questions to RIL regarding pricing of gas and the family agreement between the brothers. There were hardly any posers from the new bench that now includes Justice B. Sudershan Reddy in place of Justice Raveendran.
While the bench headed by the Chief Justice heard RIL’s counsel Harish Salve’s arguments, Anil Ambani led Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) once again accused the Union government of colluding with RIL.
RNRL counsel Ram Jethmalani hurled the allegation when Salve sought to point out his client’s discomfiture due to the government’s intervention to regulate gas supply through the Gas Utilisation Policy (GUP). Salve told the court RIL was fighting with the government that had promised not to regulate the gas supply business after its discovery. “But, they later came up with the GUP which we are fighting out,” Salve told the court.
At this juncture, Jethmalani stood up, contending Salve was making argument contradictory to his earlier submissions. “He had argued exactly to the contrary. He (RIL) is colluding with the government,” Jethmalani said. The senior counsel urged to court to give him 30 minutes every day to make his submissions as well till the RIL counsel finishes his. “It would save
a lot of time,” he added.
Salve, however, shot back saying Jethmalani’s intervention was akin to reducing the argument to a “street brawl.”