Mumbai: The legal battle over gas supply between Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) took an unexpected turn with the government, which intervened in the dispute, submitting that NTPC has not concluded an agreement with RIL.
Government lawyer T S Doabia said NTPC, which is fighting a separate case with RIL on the same issue, has not ''concluded'' a deal with RIL so far.
The submission which may significantly weaken the case of NTPC, has invited the wrath of NTPC, which has always been claiming of an existing contract with RIL for supply of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin for RNRL's two power plants in Gujarat.
NTPC chairman and managing director RS Sharma and power secretary Anil Razdan said the statement made by the government lawyer in the RIL-RNRL case is false and misleading and said the company's counsel would strongly refute the statement.
The government counsel was not representing NTPC and, therefore, his comments will have no bearing on the company's on-going legal tussle with RIL, he added.
NTPC's case with RIL dates back to December 2005 and involves the supply of 12 million standard cu.m of gas per day (mscmd) to NTPC for 17 years.
Ram Jethmalani, also appearing for RNRL, said government is not sticking to its stance. ''This shows your government is corrupt," said Jethmalani. However Doabia maintained that ''my instructions are that NTPC does not have a concluded contract with RIL".
RIL won NTPC's bid for supply of 12 million metric standard cubic metres gas per day in 2004 but the contract is stuck in a legal row over the issue of cap on liability in case of breach of contract.
The matter is pending before another judge of the High Court and NTPC's stand in that case is that RIL is bound by the contract. RIL says the contract is not final yet.
The outcome of NTPC case is relevant in RIL-RNRL dispute also as the agreement between RIL and RNRL provides for RNRL getting 12 mmscmd of additional gas if RIL-NTPC contract fails.