Tuesday, August 25, 2009

reality check for oil ministry

Instead of tuning up the volume, suddenly the oil ministry has chosen to tune it down considerably. Belligerence has been cast aside by the oil ministry in the face of the sustained campaign by RNRL to nail the truth. With lies, more lies and damned statistics being the operational plank for RIL supported by the oil ministry in the shameless campaign to obfuscate the real issues relating to the NTPC and RNRL gas supply deals, it has decided that objectivity is the only way forward in the SC. A clarifactory affidavit is being filed which will focus on the core issue of the production sharing contract between itself and RIL and the pricing of the gas.

All bellicose statements like 'MoU and family agreement between RIL and RNRL is null and void in the face of national interest involved in distribution of natural gas' have been expunged. All inflamatory statements like 'RIL and RNRL have appropriated, through the MoU, in a surreptitious and unauthorised manner, the entire gas treating the same as their personal and family property' have also been struck out. Even more interestingly, when it filed its appeal on July 18 in unseemly haste, it forgot to seek the SC's leave to file special leave petition. Ahem.

But even more shockingly, NTPC says RIL bid mum on government approvals, despite bidder having signed contract with centre much earlier in 2000. This has added a new dimension to the gas opera.It has written to the government saying, "From the information available with us, it is learnt that the PSC was signed by RIL with the government in 2000. While submitting its bid in 2003, they were fully aware of the provisions of the PSC. RIL in its bid never stated that the contract shall require the government's approval." NTPC CMD R S Sharma has written this to power secretary H SD Brahma queering the pitch for Mukesh and Murli completely just days before the apex court sits to hear the controversial matter.

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