MPs flood ministry with complaints against RIL, RNRL
16 December 2009Even as the Ambani battle plays out in Supreme Court, the ministry of corporate affairs has been inundated with complaints from several members of parliament alleging irregularities by both Reliance Industries Ltd and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL).
The minister for corporate affairs, Salman Khurshid, has called for restraint on such complaints, says a CNBC-TV18 report. All of these complaints have come with VIP references - the MPs have not only complained directly but re-sent the complaints with VIP endorsements, like the prime minister's office and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
The volume of paperwork which these complaints are generating is astonishing for the ministry. This is keeping all the departments occupied, because there is a protocol to be followed when they get a VIP compliant. There has to be a reply, which has to be sent to the VIP for reference as well the complainant after carrying out prima facie investigation.
Thus, a lot of the workforce's time is being employed in responding to these mails, even if none of the allegations has been proved, and there has been no further action - just to reply to these complaints takes a lot of workforce away.
In response to a query relating to the complaints, Khurshid, said, ''If something relates to a specific regulator, I think the regulator must handle it first and if they feel there is something that they need to push on to us, we will then receive it. But if someone is simply forum-shopping and sending something to the regulator, sectoral regulator and also to us, is not going to gel as far as I am concerned.''
The minister went on to say that he would try and open a dialogue with various other regulators to workout a system where there is no conflict in terms of looking at various irregularities, so that the same complaint need not be reviewed by the various agencies over and over again.
RNRL again tries to rope in NTPC
Meanwhile, resuming its arguments before the Supreme Court after a week's gap, Anil Ambani's RNRL again sought to equate itself with the National Thermal Power Corp in the matter of getting gas at $2.34 per unit from Mukesh Ambani's RIL for 17 years.
Counsel Mukul Rohtagi told the court bench that RNRL's case was intrinsically linked to the NTPC model, which was agreed to in no uncertain terms in the family agreement to which both Mukesh and Anil were signatories. RIL could not wriggle out of its firm commitments piggy-backing on the centre's subsequent decisions, he said.
Faulting the gas supply and marketing agreement (GSMA) offered to RNRL by RIL, Rohtagi pointed out before a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices B Sudershan Reddy and P Sathasivam that the elder brother's firm was consistently attempting to foist the GSMA on RNRL, though there was serious dispute over its terms and conditions.
''Was there no negotiations between RIL and RNRL after the approval of the scheme of de-merger by the company court?'' the Bench asked referring to the provision in the scheme for arrival at a mutually agreeable gas supply agreement between the firms owned by the warring brothers.