WITH LOK SABHA ELEC­TIONS DUE IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS, IT IS ONLY

REA­SON­ABLE TO EX­PECT AN EX­PAN­SION OF POP­ULISM AT THE EX­PENSE OF THE PRI­VATE SEC­TOR.

India Today - - COVER STORY - with Shravya Jain, Shan­tanu Guha Ray, Uday Mahurkar and Ra­jesh Sharma

reg­u­la­tor, has asked the min­istry to dis­al­low RIL from re­cov­er­ing Rs 6,000 crore out of its Rs 26,000 crore to­tal cost in de­vel­op­ing the KG- D6 basin be­cause the out­put has fallen largely be­cause RIL has only drilled 18 wells in­stead of the 31 it had com­mit­ted to. Ac­cord­ing to the pro­duc­tion- shar­ing con­tract signed by RIL and the Gov­ern­ment, any dis­pute be­tween the two par­ties must be re­solved by an ar­bi­tra­tion. Reliance has al­ready ap­pointed its ar­bi­tra­tor and coun­sel. The Gov­ern­ment has stalled.

On April 18, Reliance filed a pe­ti­tion in Supreme Court ask­ing it to di­rect the Gov­ern­ment to ap­point an ar­bi­tra­tor. The Gov­ern­ment may well have a case against Reliance— Mukesh Am­bani be­lieves it doesn’t— but it can­not avoid fol­low­ing due process signed into con­tract. In­vest­ment in the oil and gas sec­tor, bar­ring BP’S $ 7 bil­lion ( Rs 3,500 crore) in­vest­ment in Reliance in 2011, has been neg­li­gi­ble in re­cent years. A pro­tracted dis­pute over KG- D6 will not help.

It is, of course, re­mark­able to see the well- con­nected Mukesh Am­bani be­ing harassed by the Gov­ern­ment, un­able even to per­suade Gov­ern­ment to fol­low due process. If that is the fate of Mukesh Am­bani, In­dia Inc ought to be very scared.

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