Government wants SC to `annul' Ambanis' gas pact

The government filed a petition before the Supreme Court this morning seeking a direction to "annul" the family agreement of the Ambanis that seeks to share the country's gas property between Reliance Industries and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd, the companies run by Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani, respectively.

The government petition has named RIL and RNRL as respondents even as the two companies have already filed petition and counterpetitions in the Supreme Court over a 15 June order by the Bombay high court.

The HC had directed RIL to honour their family agreement and allot 28 mcum of gas at $2.34 per mmBtu - a price which is 44 per cent lower than that fixed by the government - to RNRL for a period of 17 years.

The Anil Ambani-led Reliance Natural Resources Ltd also sought a court rejection of the government affidavit which, it claimed, only helped to reinforce the claims of Reliance Industries.

The government, RNRL alleged, was "blatantly and openly supporting" RIL's "unlawful design" to wriggle out of its gas supply commitment.

"The ministry of petroleum and natural gas is seeking to reintroduce the allegation, statements and averments that were withdrawn before the high court," RNRL said in its second affidavit.

The petroleum ministry filed its special leave petition after RNRL filed its second affidavit saying the ministry's affidavit yesterday was aimed at expanding its role and file pleadings that was not permissible to an intervener.

The ministry also sought a stay on the high court judgement that asked RIL to supply gas to RNRL after mutually working out the modalities. Besides asking for setting aside the high court order, the petition sought quashing of the interpretation of the 15 June ruling that relates to gas utilisation policy and PSC.