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Deora briefs prime minister on Reliance gas


New Delhi : A day after Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group accused the petroleum ministry of misguiding the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), oil minister Murli Deora met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday to apprise him of his ministry’s stance on the subject.

In the 30-minute meeting, Deora once again explained his ministry’s position that the government had the right to determine the price and use of natural gas as it deemed fit, a senior official in the oil ministry said.

On Tuesday, the Anil Ambani group had said in a statement, “The petroleum ministry continues to misguide all concerned, including the PMO, by hiding, misquoting and misrepresenting facts.”

Deora has come under criticism for allegedly being biased in favour of Reliance Industries headed by Mukesh Ambani, engaged in a legal battle with younger brother Anil Ambani over the supply of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.

The petroleum ministry has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court with the plea that Krishna-Godavari gas was national property.

The Bombay High Court had decided June 15 in favour of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL), with a directive to Reliance Industries to supply 28 million units of gas per day to the Anil Ambani group at $2.34 per unit.

But Reliance Industries has challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court, which has fixed the hearing of the case Sep 1 and asked all parties to the dispute to file their replies by then.