Niira Radia: Hi Ganu
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Hi!
Niira Radia: How are you?
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Very fine. I know you must have been very busy today with the [ALR/Kerala ?] launch etc.
Niira Radia: Mmm, it has been a bit hectic, ya.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Ya, ya… Accha, couple of things I wanted to tell you. One, you know that Empowered Group of Ministers on KG gas, it seems to be… is going to be reconstituted.
Niira Radia: Hmmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: That I think Murli Deora and others, I mean the way… I don’t know if they are very comfortable with… the confidence in these people in handling that. So the Prime Minister wants again another committee to be set up with this Pranab Mukherjee as the head of the EGoM?
Niira Radia: Hmmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: And some of these guys of course will be there. Of course I don’t know whether Chidambaram will be there or not, because Chidambaram is now in the home Ministry, so… Pranab Mukherjee himself is the Finance Minister. So he will be there; the minister in charge of fertilisers and power, likely to be there.
Niira Radia: Azhagiri.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Yah… Crazy.
Niira Radia: And then…
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Sushilkumar Shinde…
Niira Radia: Shinde… Hmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: So, of course, Murli Deora, Pranab Mukherjee. We don’t know if any others may… are coming.
Niira Radia: And when did you, when are they saying this? When did you hear this?
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: This is what we heard last week, because you know I had spoken to these people in the commerce ministry. They also want one of the EGoMs reconstituted. The one on the SEZs. So where you know they want some changes, the rules that were done by the early GOMs, some of them, to be modified. So they were saying …
Niira Radia: So Anand Sharma will be on this, no, on this EGoM?
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: On the SEZ EGoM he will be there, but I’m not sure about the gas one.
Niira Radia: Concerned naa. Industries hai …
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Ya, possibly but it is not known. Because he’s not in town. He was travelling in Europe …
Niira Radia: And I guess Law Minister will be there, Veerapa Moily…
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Law Minister, ya. Moily will be there. Moily will be there.
Niira Radia: Veerapa… Veerapa… It’s Veerapa, no? P A?
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Ya, ya, ya. Veer*appa* Moily.
Niira Radia: Veerappa Moily… Ok…
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: I don’t know whether he knows any damn thing about gas, but he’s law minister, probably they will bring him there, because of the court cases and all …
Niira Radia: But not because of RIL- RNRL, no?
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: No, no but otherwise there are other disputes as well. Anyway, NTPC also, there is a dispute.
Niira Radia: That’s a legal issue again. Sub judice hogya. So anyway government … subject to government approval to, agreement to…
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: That’s right. And then what the EGoM decided earlier, so much so much for power, so much for fertilisers etc, so now there are other issues, like Andhra Pradesh also like, they want some preference, you know to be given to some of their own units, I think they have made some headway in that also.
Niira Radia: Mmm…
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: So, because of those things and then now because of the court case etc. So it will all happen all over again.
Niira Radia: Mmm…
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: And the other thing is that … I think on that … Manoj [Warrier?] hasn’t replied it seems to that… queries on the Haryana SEZ.
Niira Radia: Oh, how strange. I told him to reply yesterday also …
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: My reporter was saying that so far there is no reply, so I have sent him a reminder that you know please reply, otherwise we’ll have to sort of… cannot incorporate your comment and all. So but whatever has to be included in the official reaction, let him give, you know, no comment or whatever. But whatever needs to be incorporated into it, whatever will be useful, you let me know…?
Niira Radia: But what’s the focus in your story? It’s quite a negative set of questions I saw.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Hahn, that I will then… Whatever the reporter has sent, let it be there, naa? I will later on go and change it.
Niira Radia: Mmm-hmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: So what you can do is, whatever, I mean whatever are the stumbling blocks, what are the things that needed to be done to get it going you can tell me, you know that way?
Niira Radia: Mmm-hmm. Okay. Okay I’ll have a word with him. I guess I think they may not have responded because it’s a bunch of negative questions, I think …
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Is it a very large questionnaire?
Niira Radia: Yeah, about five page– about five or six questions.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Oh, I see. So let me see, the only way I thought it could be turned was, you know, by turning it on its head saying, these are the things which needs to be done, and if it is done so much employment will be generated, so much — whatever — economy will benefit etc, etc.
Niira Radia: Mmm-hmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: That you can tell me informally, if you don’t want to say officially.
Niira Radia: Okay. I did tell him to… this thing, you know? To brief you, but I don’t know why he’s not done it.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Maybe he’s caught up with something else, whatever.
Niira Radia: Okay, I’ll have a word with him, then I’ll just have a word with …
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Ya yah. And I read the court papers, that specific para that you mentioned. It says very clearly that wherever needed, I mean despite, after everything, if there are approvals required so then they have to… the onus is on them to go and get it. So they can’t say that government rules do not apply to them or at all or whatever, or that this is beyond that. Wherever there is a government regulation rule, it is there.
Niira Radia: Mmm, hmm, mmm. but tell me one thing, you know that [unclear] is a basically stupid judge.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Mmm.
Niira Radia: So, let’s see, anyway, what happens. We’ll take a call.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Ya yah, but, when she has given a judgement she has given it. So I think the only way to get it rectified is to go to the Supreme Court. Because I don’t think … there is no other way no, the government … or the government should in the meanwhile issue an ordinance or something and say now we are going with this. We are not bothered with what you have done.
Niira Radia: Mmm, hmm, hmm. Correct.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Then that ordinance has to be then followed up with a legislation.
Niira Radia: Mmm, hmm, hmm. And I think that’s going to happen because everybody has gone up in arms, left front, everybody. Everybody knows that Anil is up to his usual tricks.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Mmm hmm.
Niira Radia: What are they doing there, no? Are they around, what are they doing?
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Who?
Niira Radia: The other side.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Ahhh … they are just… so they are just waiting, waiting, waiting. They got the Bombay lobby to push Ghulam Vanavati, so that is done. Like, earlier they were going and getting all kinds of reports assigned by the earlier (chuckles) [AGI?]. So they will try and do with this guy also, give convoluted, accusing kind of opening [case] and all that.
Niira Radia: But I don’t know if the Prime Minister has any faith in him so, I’m not so …
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Yahya. All the same he has been appointed, no. And again it will all depend on what Murli Deora and Pranab Mukherjee say.
Niira Radia: Mmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: More than anything else.
Niira Radia: It doesn’t concern Ghulam Vanavati any longer.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Okay.
Niira Radia: It doesn’t concern him, I don’t think it … I don’t think that what Ghulam says matters here in the long run.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Hmm. Then it is better if they take opinion from somebody else, maybe from Subramanian or whatever. From the Solicitor general then. Not necessary that they need to go to the AGI
Niira Radia: I don’t think they require — does anybody require an opinion? — I don’t know. I don’t know what the government is doing, so no idea.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Let’s see. So … I think there’s a lot of time left, this is not going to be something that will happen in a day or two, this is going to take I think may be, six months or something?
Niira Radia: Or whatever time. You know how long courts take, na?
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Yah ya yah.
Niira Radia: If there is a Supreme Court. We don’t even know whether that’s going to happen, so …
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Yah ya yah. If it is and after that also, whatever the government view is. Will they go for … there are precedents in some cases. Even after Supreme Court judgement they have gone for ordinance and then later some kind of a legislation. That is there and … but in the case of ITC, they did that. You know, Chidambaram, when he lost that cigarette case, he went and opted for an ordinance, but then later on, I think they just quietly dropped it.
Niira Radia: Mmm. Mmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: I don’t know what compromise our man made.
Niira Radia: Mm-hmm.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: [Deveshwar?] might have done something.
Niira Radia: Uh-huh, okay, right. Oh yah, that’s right, I remember that. I remember that, yah.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Yah.
Niira Radia: Yah, yah. Oh well. So I’m still in Bombay. I’m back Wednesday, Thursday, probably.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Sure, sure. Please …
Niira Radia: Though I’m not sure yet.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Please tell Manoj that … if he sends a mail and then if you are … you know, give me informal information and then I will jump into it and, you know, sort of, sort it out. And then now into the EGoMs, I’m separately tomorrow getting something done on all the EGoMs which are going to sort of be reconstituted. So which will include this as well. So while doing that if there are very brief points which we mentioned why this EGoM is critical, if it is going to be of some use, you tell me.
Niira Radia: Okay. Will do.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Some couple of points on, you know, saying why in this EGoM will have a very critical role to play, you know, in terms of defending government’s position etc.
Niira Radia: Definitely. Will do.
G. Ganapathy Subramaniam: Okay.
Transcribed by Vivek N and checked and corrected by OL
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine