'Negligent' GAIL angers S. Krishnan at PNGRB

Vol 18, PW 20 (04 Jun 15) People & Policy

A shockingly casual and negligent approach is how PNGRB chairman S.

Krishnan has described GAIL’s behaviour against Mahanagar Gas (MGL), its joint venture with BG. In dispute are Rs75.44cr ($13m) gas transportation charges levied by ONGC and GAIL against MGL.

Ruling on May 22, Krishnan and four fellow Board members said GAIL’s failure to respond to MGL’s petition “is a glaring instance of negligence” and ordered GAIL to pay a token Rs10,000 ($156) penalty within 10 days and submit a response within four weeks. Krishnan said if GAIL did not pay, its counter arguments will not be put on record, especially as its lawyers failed to even show up on May 22.

GAIL responded with an email seeking two weeks to reply because the father of the “arguing counsel” was ill triggering further PNGRB outrage and a stern reminder that no lawyer is on record “even today” as GAIL’s representative. Krishnan demands to know why GAIL did not submit its reply within three weeks as directed by the Board on March 4 and why it did not request a postponement earlier.

Krishnan even wonders if the arguing counsel was busy why didn't the drafting counsel prepare the reply? When contacted GAIL played down the episode as “very minor” and blamed “administrative issues” for the delay in replying by its legal department.