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Centre seeks more time to reply in RIL ' collusion' case.

THE Centre on Friday requested the Supreme Court ( SC) for more time to respond to a public interest litigation ( PIL) alleging that the government had entered into a conspiracy with Reliance Industries Ltd ( RIL) and NIKO Resources Ltd to enable the companies make " exorbitant, unreasonable and excessive" profit in exploration of gas in KG Basin at the cost of the exchequer.

A Bench presided over by Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam adjourned the hearing by six weeks to let the Centre file its response to the PIL, filed by member of Parliament Gurudas Dasgupta and former power secretary E. A. S. Sarma. Initially, the SC had directed the Centre to respond in the last week of July.

Dasgupta pointed out in the PIL that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had concluded that investment cost in gas production claimed by RIL is unjustified. He alleged that contractors had deliberately reduced production at a time when the demand for gas outstripped supply to hold the country to ransom.

However, RIL has refuted the allegations in the SC that it is deliberately reducing production of gas in KG Basin in anticipation of a higher gas price. In a 51- page affidavit, the company contended, " Any allegation which suggests that a contractor has possibly deliberately suppressed the production of gas from a producing well( s) betrays complete disregard of the technical and technological realities of the process of production of natural gas from these reservoirs." Another PIL filed by non- governmental organisation Common Cause and others, including former bureaucrats, is likely to come up before another SC Bench on Monday.

The PIL requested the SC to direct a levy of penalty on RIL for " persistently failing to adhere to its commitments, deliberately producing less than it can, gold plating of expenditure and for its mala fide conduct in doubling the gas price".

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 7, 2013
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