With the Ambani gas dispute case coming up for hearing in the Supreme Court on October 20, the government has decided to strengthen the legal team, headed by Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran, which is arguing its case.

The government filed a special leave petition, asserting its right to decide on the utilisation and pricing of gas.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, along with Law and Justice Minister M.Veerappa Moily and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murali Deora, held discussions to get an update on the case. “Mr. Mukherjee wanted to know what is happening in the case and so the meeting was called. Whatever assistance is required will be given,” Mr. Deora told journalists.

The legal team expansion would take place with Mr. Parasaran’s concurrence, the meeting decided.

Official sources said that at least one senior government lawyer might be appointed and one more senior lawyer, from either the government or the private sector, might be included. It was being debated whether Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam would be included in the team.

The Anil Ambani-owned RNRL is seeking gas from the Mukesh Ambani-run RIL at $2.34 per mmBtu based on a 2005 family agreement. But RIL has refused supply, saying the price needs government approval.

The government in 2007 approved a price of $4.20 per mmBtu for gas from RIL’s KG-D6 fields. It has allocated the initial 40 mmscmd of output among power, fertilizer, steel and LPG units, which are buying the fuel at the approved rate.