Who is right and who is wrong in the Ambani gas row? Delhi's political class is abuzz with who is getting the right and wrong end of the stick. The joke doing the rounds on Monday night was that while KG gas belongs to India and not Ambani brothers, which is what oil minister Murli Deora said on NDTV Profit, Murli Kaka himself certainly belongs to Mukesh Ambani, as articulated by RNRL lawyer Ram Jethmalani on a rival business channel.
Deora more loyal than the king himself continues to make an ass of himself by uttering inanities which only confound one and all. The political class is not surprised that Deora is batting aggressively for Mukeshbhai, but is wondering aloud as to why the oil ministry has changed its tune so suddenly and abruptly. After proclaiming to one and all that the gas row was a private dispute and that it had no role in fixing the price of gas, including making this submission in parliament on multiple ocassions; the government read oil ministry has gone ahead and impleaded itself in the apex court. While this doesn't surprise anyone, what confounds all and sundry is that the oil ministry has become so bold and brazen.
Reuters in its morning report stated that on Monday the Supreme Court cleared the way for the government to be a party in the court battle. Which means that it is mission accomplished for Deora. But as RNRL lawyer said, "The government's role in this matter is not conducive to public interest." Oil secretary R S Pandey told ET Now that the government has gone to court saying that this MoU which appropriates this gas as personal, private property, is not correct. The oil ministry is in the process subverting its own case and interest as PSU power major NTPC is fighting a case against RIL over gas. RIL has debunked the claim and contract for gas as 'not concluded.' This contract/gas supply aggreement was signed at $2.34 per mmbtu and became the pricing basis of a subsequent RNRL gas supply agreement with RIL. This gas supply for the Dadri plant was ratified by the RIL board of directors. Neither the power ministry, nor the oil ministry seem to be bothered about the state of that legal case. Cut your nose to spite your face, is the morale of this story.
When Deora says - I am disgusted with the fight between Ambanis - is he referring to both the brothers or merely the younger brother. The gas doesn't belong to them, he shouts. But then why does he continue protecting the interests of the elder brother Mukesh.