Just when poor NTPC claims in the gas opera were being cast aside due to the oil ministry's ambivalent attitude towards the power ministry, the governemnt law officers were given a wake up call by an emboldened NTPC CMD R S Sharma. Threatening to walk out of a high profile briefing session, Sharma made it amply clear to one and all in the room on the company's interlocutory petition to be filed in the SC.
Sharma was furious with the draft petition, saying that it did not safeguard NTPC's concerns on the issue of protecting future gas supplies from RIL. Times of India has reported that Sharma put his foot down on the sensitive issue. NTPC will not be party or respondent, but will certainly have a significant say in the matter before the SC. With the Chief Justice busy with a Constitutional Bench hearing, this matter will come up before a three division bench on September 4 or 5 now. Thereafter a short duration hearing will take place.
NTPC's claims on 12 million unitsper day for 17 years at $2.34 are critical to RNRL's position in this entire gas opera. RIL had won a global tender floated by NTPC in 2003 at $2.34. Since then Mukesh Ambani and RIL got greedy and changed his mind hiding behind the frockcoat of oil minister Murli Deora. As part of the RIL scheme of demerger, RIL was to supply gas at a similar price to RNRL for a similar period of 17 years. Only the quantity of gas was 28 million units per day. Surprising that it has taken NTPC six years to really take a stand in this matter, though a case is pending in the Bombay High Court against RIL.