An Indian cabinet minister has asked the country’s primary foreign intelligence agency to investigate a “link” between Allen & Overy, which is representing Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and British Gas (BG) before an arbitration tribunal, and the presiding arbitrator of that tribunal, the Indian Express reported.
Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s petroleum minister, wants RAW to probe the “connection” between Singapore lawyer Christopher Lau SC, the presiding arbitrator of the tribunal that has been adjudicating since 2011 in a dispute over costs related to Panna, Mukta and Tapti (PMT) oil and gas fields, and the Magic Circle firm, which is representing BG and RIL against the government.
The newspaper added that the two companies hold 30 per cent each of the PMT fields, with the state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) holding 40 per cent interest. The government maintains that RIL and BG are claiming a higher income tax deduction than what they pay.
In 2011, before the arbitration started, Lau, a respected veteran arbitrator, had declared to both sides that his daughter had worked for Allen & Overy, the Indian Express said. He was then selected as the presiding arbitrator by the two sides.