Anil Ambani elated as government changes stand on gas dispute

The government on Tuesday made significant changes in its special leave petition before the Supreme Court in the three-way gas price dispute between the Ambani brothers and state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation.

In its new application, the government said it no longer wants to have the agreement signed between Reliance Industries Ltd and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd in 2005 pertaining to sharing of gas as ''null and void'', as it had sought in its earlier petition.

The centre said that the feud between the Ambanis on policy and pricing, and allocation of gas from the Mukesh Ambani-controlled RIL's Krishna-Godavari Basin block, was without prejudice to the legal case involving NTPC.

Withdrawing its old application, the government said that it was not concerned with the private dispute between RIL and Anil Ambani-owned RNRL. However, in its fresh application it stuck to its substantive point that government policies ought to prevail over a private contract.

''The gas utilisation policy and the PSC would have supremacy and cannot be controlled by a private arrangement (called MoU) insofar as sale or regulation of the natural resource gas from KG D6 basin is concerned,'' the government said.

It told the Supreme Court that NTPC and RNRL were not on the same footing with regard to the supply of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin by RIL. The price of gas to be paid by NTPC would be considered in-dependently of the RIL-RNRL case, it said.