Anil Ambani's blistering attack on oil minister Murli Deora seems to have paid off. The calibrated attack launched during the RNRL AGM followed by interviews to leading media entities and a late night concall seem to be working as a pressure tactic. On Thursday, the oil ministry reportedly is planning to withdraw its Special Leave Petition from the Supreme Court. A SLP as corporate lawyer H P Ranina explained is only field if there is patent error in a judgment given by a lower court, in this case the Bombay High Court's verdict in favour of RNRL on June 15.
By withdrawing the SLP, the oil ministry seems to have decided that discretion is the better part of valour to use an age old proverb. With the oil ministry realising that Ambani Jr's attack has convinced everyone about the veracity of the 'commercial dispute', it is better to withdraw and reframe the SLP. The oil ministry's claim that it was a private dispute and not a commercial one has since been flushed down the toilet. The question is - will the oil ministry amend the SLP and what will its new thrust be on?
Round One seems to have gone to Anil Ambani. With the Supreme Court deciding to hear the matter on September 1, expect much drama in print and television on the subject. For no one remembers such an all out attack by an industrialist against a sitting union minister, and that too by name. Industrialists and businessmen have always kowtowed to the whims and fancies of ministers as they need leverage. This brazen attack will certainly result in something. Next stop is Murli Deora's statement on the matter in parliament on Monday. Watch the Samajwadi members during the statement. Expect more action.