Richa Mishra

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Richa Mishra

‘Courtesy Calls’ Mukesh Ambani way!

| Updated on April 19, 2013

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‘Courtesy Call’ for you and me is defined as a social call made for reasons of general courtesy and without a more specific purpose.

But, the definition may not be the same when Mukesh Ambani meets the Prime Minister. Or is it?

Check this out. On April 15, Ambani and BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley met who’s-who of the Capital’s corridors of power. Interestingly, the meeting with Manmohan Singh was termed a ‘courtesy call’.

Hard to digest! Reason being neither the Prime Minister nor Ambani and Dudley are expected to spend their precious time just exchanging pleasantries or do they?

I recollect November 2011, when Ambani, whose smallest movements are keenly noted, took media by surprise when he came out after his meeting with the Prime Minister, in the latter’s office in Parliament. Asked what the meeting was about, he said, “I met him just like that.”

Really! Considering the circumstances under which he met.

His Group was gearing up for its telecom foray, and, also, the operator of the largest gas-fields in the country has been drawing flak from the Petroleum Ministry for falling gas output. The Ministry was seeking views on the action to be taken against Reliance Industries for its gas output falling below target from the East Coast fields.

What followed was a Government notice for proportionate disallowance of cost of production facilities amounting to $1.005 billion. RIL has invoked arbitration proceedings on the matter.

Cut to April 15!

Need of the hour is clarity on natural gas pricing, as the new price for the KG-D6 fields will be applicable from April 2014 (current price of D6 gas is $ 4.2/mmBtu at landfall point), on which future investments are dependent.

Also there is MJ1! A new area discovered in the existing producing gas fields in this block showing signs of significant gas. His telecom business is already creating a buzz, particularly a pact with younger brother Anil Ambani.

As a fellow journalist in jest said, from Mukesh Ambani to Michael Jackson (MJ1) in D6 and brothers at war to ‘Hello Brother’ – Can you beat it, it was just a courtesy call.

Though some – Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Vivek Rae — spoke about their meeting with the duo and the issues raised by them. In fact, Dudley after meeting Rae, was perfect with his quotes. But, Ambani only had a smile to offer. Of course, no comments came on the meeting with the Prime Minister except that ‘it was a courtesy call!’

So, without any disclaimer beat reporters made their own interpretations – after all it is not every day that Mukesh Ambani is visiting Shastri Bhavan – corridors of Petroleum Ministry and other decision makers.

April 19th is his birthday. List of those paying him courtesy calls am sure will be long.

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Published on April 19, 2013
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