Family MOU between Ambani brothers cannot be relied: Mukesh

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Mumbai, Oct 6 (UNI) Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Mukesh Ambani today claimed that the agreement between him and Chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group Anil Ambani over the supply of natural gas from the RIL eastern offshore Krishna-Godavari gas fields cannot be relied upon.

Contending before the Bombay High Court Division Bench consisting of Justice J N Patel and Justice K K Tated, senior counsel Harish Salve, on behalf of RIL, said since the agreement was never brought before the court in the past, it could not be considered as an evidence in solving the issue.

The Bench will hear Mr Salve's complete arguments tomorrow.

The court had earlier restrained Mukesh's Reliance Industries from entering into gas sales contracts with parties other than Anil Ambani Group's Reliance Natural Resources and state-run NTPC, but it had agreed with the government's set price of USD 4.20 per million British thermal unit for KG-D6 gas.

Reliance Industries was set to begin gas production from KG-D6 from September, at an initial rate of 25 million standard cubic meters per day, climbing up to 40 mmscmd by March 2009. However, after the court's restraining order, it was not able to enter into sales contracts.

RNRL claims right over 28 mmscmd of gas from KG-D6 at USD 2.34 per mmBtu, the price at which RIL had bid in a tender floated by NTPC for sourcing gas. The NTPC contract was not honoured, as the two firms are in courts over certain clauses in the contract.

The Anil Ambani Group, citing family demerger agreement, claims right over the 12 mmscmd gas RIL had committed to NTPC if its deal with the state-run firm fails.

Reliance, which sees peak output from KG-D6 at 80 mmscmd, wants the initial 40 mmscmd freed for sale to customers other than RNRL and NTPC.

The Bombay High Court is likely to adjudicate over the claims made by the two parties.

Meanwhile, the Central Government has impleaded in the case, saying natural gas was a national resource and it cannot be locked over family disputes.

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