Thursday, October 16, 2008

RIL original demerger document missing

The original document pertaining to the demerger of the Reliance empire seems to have been misplaced. Reliance Industries (RIL) had submitted the document to the High Court in September 2005, seeking the court's approval for the demerger. The court on Wednesday ordered the Registrar to produce the document by October 17. While passing the order, the division bench of the high court said it was "surprising" that the record was missing from the court and that none of the parties-- RIL, RIL's counsel, RIL's secretary and the RIL board-- was aware of the whereabouts of the document. This development came to the fore on Wednesday when Ram Jethmalani, counsel for Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL), drew the attention of the High Court to the non-production of the original demerger scheme. He sought the original document to establish that the split between the Ambani brothers was based on the family settlement in June 2005. The court associate reported that the document could not be traced in the registrar's office. When asked, RIL's counsel Milind Sathe told Justice Patel of the division bench that neither his client nor RIL's solicitor at the tine has a copy of the document
The registrar's office subsequently produced a copy of the document within an hour. The bench has asked the registrar to file an affidavit since the document was not original. After the day's proceedings, Mr Jethmalani told ET, "We have been given a reconstructed copy of the
application when we asked for the original application. We are told that the original copy is lost. They (RIL) do not have the original copy, nor their legal advisor Amarchand Mangaldas has it. Somebody has to inquire into this." A RIL spokesperson declined to offer any comments citing the matter to be sub-judice. While arguing in the court, Mr Jethmalani said that RIL had deliberately created a dispute with NTPC to help it in its dispute with RNRL. He said that the proposed gas sales agreement between RIL and RNRL is based on the RIL-NTPC agreement.

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