NGO Common Cause, others, allege mala fide conduct by RIL

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre, Reliance Industries and others on a public interest litigation petition filed by NGO Common Cause and others seeking a direction to the Union of India to cancel the production sharing contract (PSC) between Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and NIKO Resources for extracting gas in the KG block.

A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, after hearing counsel Prashant Bhushan, issued notice returnable in four weeks. The Bench, which had earlier issued notice to the Centre on a PIL plea filed by CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta, directed the present petition to be tagged with that case.

The petitioners, including T.S.R. Subramanian (former Cabinet Secretary), Admiral (Retd.) L. Ramdas (former Chief of Naval Staff) and Ramaswamy R. Iyer (former Secretary, Government of India), also wanted an appropriate penalty to be levied as RIL had failed to adhere to commitments and indulged in deliberate underproduction, gold plating and mala fide conduct.

The petition sought a thorough investigation — by an SIT or the CBI under the supervision of the Supreme Court — into the alleged high-level collusion between RIL and the political establishment, including lack of action against RIL for hoarding gas, increasing the gas price to $4.2 mmbtu amid a subsisting bid to NTPC for 17 years at $2.34 mmbtu, subsequently doubling the price to $8.4 mmbtu, giving retrospective tax benefit and not insisting that RIL relinquish area.

  • RIL hoarded gas, doubled price, got retrospective tax concession: petitioners

  • ‘CAG exposed gold-plating, show-cause was issued to RIL, yet Centre took no action’