Government files fresh affidavit in gas dispute between Ambani brothers

November 14th, 2008 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 14 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Friday said a representative of the central government should be present when the hearing resumes Nov 27 on the disputed gas pricing case involving the companies controlled by the estranged Ambani brothers.The hearing was adjourned till Nov 27 and the court has allowed the Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) to file a rejoinder to the government’s affidavit.

The court also said RNRL would have to apply for permission to cross-examine the petroleum ministry official who filed the affidavit, after the company’s counsel Ram Jethmalani said he wanted to question him.

“The court will decide on Nov 27 whether to allow cross-examination. It is our right to cross-examine,” advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who is a part of RNRL legal team, later told reporters.

The court also made the government a third party to the case.

The dispute over gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin’s KG-D6 block revolves around a pact between RNRL and the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries (RIL) on which firm has the rights over the gas supplies and at what price.

An earlier interim order, in which the court restrained RIL from selling the gas or from entering into any contract with a third party, has lapsed. RIL was subsequently planning to start production from the basin.

The court had also restrained RIL from entering into contracts to sell the gas from this basin - known in official jargon as KG-D6 gas - with companies other than RNRL and the state-run National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC).

It had also asked the two sides to settle the dispute within four months, but they failed to reach an agreement within the stipulated time frame.

RNRL has claimed at least half of the 80 million standard cubic metres of gas per day that is envisaged from the fields off the Andhra Pradesh coast - said to be the country’s biggest source of hydrocarbons today.

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