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SC slaps notices on govt, RIL on KG basin gas

Notices issued to Centre, DGH, CBI, Reliance and Niko on a few petitions

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The on Monday issued notices to the Centre, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), Central Bureau of Investigation, Reliance Industries (RIL) and Niko Resources on a few petitions raising the issue of KG basin and related issues.

The bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam asked the organisations to file their replies within a month and a hearing would take place immediately thereafter.

While Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta had raised some issues earlier, the new petitions, moved by NGO Common Cause and some eminent persons, wanted the court to decide on more subjects like gold plating of expenditure by RIL, deliberate drop in production, gas price increase, non-relinquishment of basin area by RIL, and retrospective tax concession.

The petitioners have sought a SIT investigation and cancellation of the contract with RIL. All the petitions, including that of Dasgupta, would be heard early in November. Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the new petitioners, wanted the court to cancel the production sharing contract (PSC) with RIL and NIKO.

He also wanted appropriate penalty against them because of “RIL’s persistence failure in adhering to their commitments, among other things. deliberate underproduction, gold plating and mala fide conduct, and put the D-6 field of KG Basin for auction.” The petitioners also wanted the government to take back 86 per cent of the D-6 area of KG basin from RIL as recommended by the DGH.

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