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Mulla & Mulla wins latest Ambani spat for younger brother

Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe has led Anil Ambani Group company Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) in its multi-million dollar High Court victory against Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries (RIL).

Mulla & Mulla litigation partner Darius Kakalia spearheaded the team for RNRL, instructing senior counsel Ram Jathmalani to argue the case in the Bombay High Court. Mulla & Mulla is a regular adviser to Anil Ambani Group companies.

Kakalia said: "We have a thumping judgment in our favour and the judges decided on all the points we wanted them to decide on."

RIL turned to trusted adviser Atul Dayal, who is the founding partner of A S Dayal & Associates. The firm specialises in advising Reliance Industries companies and had instructed senior counsel Harish Salve to appear on its client's behalf.

Mulla & Mulla's Kakalia conceded that an RIL appeal to the Supreme Court was possible although he declined to speculate on its likelihood.

Kakalia explained that the value of the claim was likely to be equivalent to at least Rs 1,000 crore ($209m).

The complex case was first brought to the courts by RNRL in November 2006 over a 17-year supply contract that would see RIL supply gas to RNRL at a fixed price of $2.34 per million British thermal units (mBtu).

That price is 44 per cent below the government-fixed price of gas and RIL refused to honour a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was entered into between the parties when the Ambani family empire was divided between the brothers in 2005.

Negotiations to settle the claim continued but the litigation was resumed again in early 2008 before the Bombay High Court.

The Court handed down its judgment yesterday (15 June) in favour of RNRL, forcing RIL to supply it with gas for the rest of the 17-year term at the lower fixed rates. The Court ordered the parties to affirm the existing MOU or to enter into a new agreement within a month.

A S Dayal could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

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