Ambani gas row dominates Supreme Court proceedings in 2009

During the year, the high-voltage legal battle between the Ambani brothers over the gas dispute dominated the proceedings in the Supreme Court

The year 2009 saw a high-voltage legal battle between the Ambani brothers over the gas dispute reaching the Supreme Court, with a judge withdrawing from the Bench, reports PTI.

The apex court also heard a plea for bringing back black money stashed in tax havens abroad.

Top lawyers were engaged by both Mukesh Ambani group company Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Anil Ambani-led Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) over the dispute relating to the supply and pricing of gas from the KG Basin.

The 26-day marathon hearing was not free from controversy as a senior judge recused himself after six days of hearing. Justice RV Raveendran, who agreed to hear the matter after declaring that he held equal shares in both companies, withdrew himself from the Bench on the ground that his daughter was working in a law firm which was advising one of the entities in global projects.

The legal fight between the Ambanis saw the government in a piquant situation when RNRL accused the government of siding with RIL. The government also stepped in to defend State-run power producer NTPC Ltd, which according to the agreement with RIL, will get gas at $2.34 per unit. RNRL is seeking gas at the same rate.

The judgement in the Ambani gas row by a Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan has been reserved.

The issue of black money stashed in foreign banks was brought before the apex court by eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani and some bureaucrats and academicians, just before the Lok Sabha elections.

A Bench headed by the Chief Justice sought explanation from the Indian government which after much dilly-dallying filed an affidavit about the steps taken by it.

The affidavit was termed as “eyewash” by the petitioners even as the government said that the enforcement directorate had already initiated proceedings against Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan under the Money Laundering Act.

The matter relating to land acquisition for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) also figured in the Supreme Court.

The apex court dismissed the plea for staying the land-acquisition process for a Mukesh Ambani-promoted project in Raigarh in Maharashtra. The land-acquisition process had hit a roadblock after farmers in 22 villages opposed it in a referendum initiated by the State government last year.

The land acquisition for the SEZ, which was to come up in an area of 10,000 hectares at an investment of Rs40,000 crore, was to be completed within two years since it was given clearance in June 2005 and two extensions were subsequently granted.

The conflict of interest in hearing corporate matters came to the forefront this year in the apex court with judges forced to recuse themselves. The worst came when Justice SH Kapadia, who is next in line to be the Chief Justice of India, was accused by an advocate in an interview to a news magazine of hearing the matters of a company in which he held shares.

Justice Kapadia, who was in a Special Forest Bench, was accused of hearing the mining matter of Vedanta-Sterlite. The controversy did not end as the apex court has initiated contempt proceedings against advocate Prashant Bhushan for his alleged comments.

Later, Justice Kapadia also withdrew from the Bench hearing a matter pertaining to the public offer made by London-based Vedanta Resources to buy additional stake in iron ore exporting firm Sesa Goa as he happens to be shareholder of a sister company.

Justice Markandey Katju also realised that conflict of interest was coming in the way of his deciding the dispute between RIL and BPCL, the verdict of which he had reserved after hearing the matter for two years. The grounds cited by Justice Katju to recuse himself was that his wife held shares in RIL.

Telecom disputes particularly relating to spectrum allocation also figured in the apex court with the department of telecom rushing with an appeal against the Delhi High Court decision quashing its government order advancing the cut-off date for allocation of 2G spectrum.

Corporate crime and corruption also consumed the time of the apex court with the year commencing with matters relating to the Satyam fraud by its chief Ramalinga Raju.

While the Satyam founder was in custody, a plea by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was allowed, to interrogate him in prison in connection with the Rs7,800 crore scam.

The apex court also rejected the plea of financial industry magnate Nimesh N Kampani seeking quashing of criminal proceedings initiated against him by the Andhra Pradesh government in the Nagarjuna Finance scam case.

Among government matters, the income-tax department had a tough time in the apex court to explain its stand of allowing actor Amitabh Bachchan to withdraw his security expense claim amounting to around Rs6.90 crore, the actor's income from popular TV game show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' (KBC) in 2001-02.

Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel received a setback when the apex court refused to stop criminal proceedings against him in a Rs40 crore fraud case involving a company once chaired by him.

Among environmental matters, the apex court came down heavily on the bleaching and dyeing industry in Tirupur for releasing untreated effluents into the Noyyal river.

The Reddy brothers of Karnataka got a jolt from the Supreme Court when at the fag end of the year it banned mining activity at the Anantpur village in Andhra Pradesh. However, before this incident, the mining activities in Aravali hills in Haryana were totally stopped.

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    ‘3 Idiots’ to rake it in, set to get additional prints

    The producers and distributors of ‘3 Idiots’, which collected over Rs100 crore in just four days from its opening, are going to add 12 more prints in the US by Friday and may even add six-seven more prints in India as well

    Following the overwhelming response for the film ‘3 Idiots’ across the globe, its distributor Reliance BIG Pictures and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, have decided to add 12 more prints in the US market by Friday. They may even add six to seven more prints in India, say industry sources.

    During the first four days of its release, ‘3 Idiots’, starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor, has garnered more than Rs100 crore from box-office collections.

    Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the producer, said, “We have got reports from places like Australia that they have reduced 'Avatar' shows and increased those of ours (‘3 Idiots’).”

    During its opening weekend, ‘3 Idiots’ collected more than $2.14 million in North America, $1 million in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), about $700,000 in the UK, $300,000 in Australia and New Zealand and $310,000 from the rest of the world.

    The film, produced by Mr Chopra and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, was released in 2,126 screens, including 378 screens in the overseas market.

    With the success of ‘3 Idiots’, Bollywood star Aamir Khan has proved himself once again. Earlier, there were reports that the production house was facing problems in striking a deal with distributors as the actor was demanding Rs100 crore for distribution rights.

    Last year, Mr Khan sold the distribution rights of his blockbuster ’Ghajini’ for Rs93 crore. However, distributors were shying away from investing such a large sum this time because they were not sure about the box-office fate of Mr Khan’s latest release.

    Producer Mr Chopra has reportedly signed a minimum guarantee deal worth Rs34 crore for the film in collaboration with Reliance BIG Pictures, the movie distribution arm of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group (ADAG). Reliance BIG Pictures said that it had bought the distribution rights of the movie from the producers for an undisclosed amount.

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    Henry Shastri

    1 decade ago

    Isn't it IDIOTIC not to venture into making films like 3 Idiots?


    1 decade ago

    that is the Aamir Khan and three idiots is there

    RIL's executive director R Ravimohan passes away

    R Ravimohan, who was handling the proposed acquisition of global petrochemical major LyondellBasell Industries, was rushed to hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest while taking a walk outside his office

    Reliance Industries Ltd's (RIL) executive director R Ravimohan died on Monday night following a cardiac arrest. Mr Ravimohan, aged 52, is survived by his wife Madhuralakshmi, daughter Hridaya and son Jagad. In September, he was appointed on the Board of directors of RIL.

    In a release, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani said, "We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Ravimohan. He was a keen supporter of Reliance Industries and a very dear friend. On behalf of all of us at Reliance Industries, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Ravi's family and many friends."

    Mr Ravimohan, who was handling the proposed acquisition of global petrochemical major LyondellBasell Industries, was rushed to hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest while taking a walk outside his office.

    He was closely involved with the modernisation of the Indian financial system and pioneered the era of electronic stock markets in the country. Mr Ravimohan was involved in critical policy assignments including being a member of the Primary Market Advisory Committee of SEBI, Technical Advisory Committee and Financial Stability & Stern Test Assessment Committee of the Reserve Bank of India and the Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial Sector Reforms.

    Mr Ravimohan was a chemical engineer and had also completed an Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School. He served as chief executive officer of the Over-the- Counter Exchange of India (OTCEI) from 1990 to 1994 and was also instrumental in setting up India's first electronic stock exchange.

    He was also former chairman of CRISIL. Ravimohan served as region head of south and south-east Asia division and was managing director of Standard & Poor's Corp since May 2008. Mr Ravimohan served as country head of S&P India since 27 July 2007. He joined S&P in August 2007. He served as chief executive officer and managing director of CRISIL Ltd, a subsidiary of S&P, from 1994 to July 2007. He also served as director of CRISIL Risk and Infrastructure Solutions Ltd, CRISIL Credit Information Services Ltd, Gas Strategies Group Ltd, Irevna Ltd and Irevna LLC. He was director of India Index Services & Products Ltd, Crisil Research & Information Services Ltd, CRISIL MarketWire Ltd, CRISIL Properties Ltd and Global Data Services of India Ltd.

    He also served as director of the National Commodity And Derivatives Exchange Ltd.

    Mr Ravimohan also served as director of Whistling Woods International Foundation. He had a long initial career with ICICI Ltd in the areas of project appraisal, systems design, credit administration and merchant banking.

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