RNRL ends argument on gas dispute with plea for comprehensive solution

December 16th, 2009 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) Wednesday concluded its arguments in the Supreme Court over the gas dispute with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), saying that two lower courts had upheld its position on the quantity, tenure and pricing of supplies.
“We want a comprehensive end to the dispute in the interests of the country’s economy,” RNRL counsel Mukul Rohatgi pleaded before the three-member bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice P. Sathasivam.

He said the intrinsic legal strengths of his client’s case were the concurrent findings of both the company court and a division bench of the Bombay High Court on the various issues involving gas supplies from Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries.

Rohatgi also pleaded before the court not to send the dispute to any other forum for further adjudication, adding the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, of which RNRL is a part, has always wanted an amiable and amicable solution.

“My client has always advocated that the dispute can be resolved through mutual discussions, but the other side has stated that only Supreme Court can decide on the issue,” he said.

The three-member bench has been hearing the dispute over the supply of 28 million units of gas for 17 years at $2.34 per unit to RNRL from the gas fields of Krishna-Godavari basin awarded to RIL.

The price, tenure and quantity were based on a pact in the Ambani family entered in 2005 but RIL later said it will only sell gas for $4.20 per unit to RNRL, claiming this was the consideration fixed by the government.

Rohatgi told the apex court bench that the crux of the concurrent findings of the Bombay High Court was: The family business reorganisation pact between the two Ambani brothers was binding on RIL.

Both the courts, he said, had also concluded that the board meeting of RIL held on Jan 12, 2006 was contrary to the business scheme within the Ambani family and the decisions taken were not only hurried, but also favoured only one party.

“It (the outcome of the board meeting) is also one-sided and in the interests of RIL and not in the interest of RNRL,” Rohatgi said, quoting the verdict of the single judge bench of the Bombay High Court.

The division bench also concurred with the single judge finding, he said, adding clear observations were made on the issue of price, tenure and quantity of gas supplies from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

The hearing is expected to resume Thursday for the counsel for RIL to place his counter-arguments, which lasted for a brief while Wednesday.

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