Anil Ambani group mulls defamation case against oil regulator


New Delhi : The Anil Ambani group Thursday sought a thorough probe by the home ministry into alleged partisan conduct of Director General of Hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal and said it will file a criminal case against him for defamation.

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In a letter to the home ministry, the group said charges by the director general against the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group were irresponsible, absurd and baseless, with the sole intent of diverting attention away from his partisan acts toward Reliance Industries.

The letter also sought a comprehensive investigation into Sibal’s role for his approval to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries for hiking the capital expenditure towards the exploitation of natural gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group will also file criminal proceedings against the director general for defamation and character assassination, the letter warned.

The letter was in response to full-page advertisements in some leading newspapers by the oil regulator Wednesday, seeking to explain its role regarding the various facets of exploring and harnessing of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

In a petition in the Supreme Court, the Anil Ambani group had contended that in order to make huge profits from the Krishna-Godavari gas fields, Reliance Industries had hiked the capital expenditure from $2.4 billion to $8.8 billion.

“This astronomical rise is not genuine and has been wrongly approved by the director general of hydrocarbons and the ministry of petroleum and natural gas,” the petition said, also alleging conflict of interest in the matter.

Sibal has denied wrongdoing on his part or that he accepted any undue favour as alleged now by the Anil Ambani Group, such as a stay for his daughters at the premises owned in Mumbai by the associates of Reliance Industries.

“My reply is published in the newspapers. This is all of 2005 when my daughter went missing for two days during the Mumbai floods. If it was all a favour, then why did we pay Rs.300,000? I have got a copy of the cheque,” Sibal had told IANS.

The Anil Ambani group is fighting a bitter legal battle with Reliance Industries for securing 28 million units of gas a day from the Krishna-Godavari basin for 17 years at $2.34 per unit.

The Supreme Court is slated to hear the case Oct 20.