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Settle gas row out of court, opine Govt counsel

business Updated: Aug 12, 2009 21:18 IST
Settle gas row out of court

Government counsel are understood to have advised the Centre to explore out-of-court settlement in the Ambani brothers' gas dispute as it cannot afford to contradict its position in another matter involving power PSU NTPC.

Informed sources said Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium has advised the government to "find a solution which should reflect one stand and no element of public interest should be jeopardised." The advice has been placed before the Prime Minister for approval and he has already seen it, sources said.

The recommendation comes in the wake of RIL being allowed to amend its plea before the Bombay High Court, where the private company used the government's affidavit on gas pricing to buttress its argument on why it should not supply gas to NTPC at the bid price of $2.34 per mmBtu.

Noting that this was a very serious matter, the source said RIL as a defendent in the NTPC's suit before the High Court cannot use the government's stand against a PSU.

Also, RIL cannot be allowed to rely on the central government's affidavit. Subramanium has given a very "strong opinion" on the matter that the government should not help anybody but NTPC, the sources said.

"Government cannot destroy the case of NTPC or any other PSU," Subramanium is believed to have opined.

The Solicitor General has suggested that the government should settle the issue, may be, out-of-court with all the parties concerned.