MSEB Files Petition Against State, DPC, Others

Mumbai, September 29: | Updated: Sep 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
The ongoing Dabhol project has taken a new twist as the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) has filed a petition against the state government, the Dabhol Power Company (DPC), GE and Bechtel with a plea that they be prohibited from proceeding with the London arbitration and other cases arising out of it abroad and in the Indian courts.

The petition is slated for hearing on Tuesday before the Bombay high courts chief justice CN Thakker. MSEBs petition deserves importance especially when GE and Bechtel had moved the New York court against MSEB, the state government and MSEBs arm Maharashtra Power Development Corporation Ltd for the breach of shareholders agreement. The Bombay High Court has already stayed GE and Bechtels proceedings in this regard in the New York court.

MSEB sources confirmed that it has already filed petition in this regard under exceptional circumstances and has served notices to the concerned parties. According to MSEB, if the troubled DPC and its shareholders GE and Bechtel were allowed to proceed with the London arbitration it would have a serious impact on the states function of supplying power in Maharashtra. It would also impact the ability and capacity of MSEB to supply power in the state.

MSEB has noted that Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) through its order of May 29, 2001 has already restrained DPC from continuing arbitration against MSEB at the London tribunal. Subsequently, the Delhi high court has also prohibited DPC from proceeding with arbitration proceedings against the Government of India which has given counter guarantee for the 2,184 mw Dabhol project. MSEB has submitted that in such circumstances if DPC and its shareholders continued to proceed with arbitration against the Maharashtra government it would have an adverse impact on its function to supply power in the state. Thus it has reiterated that DPC, GE and Bechtel be restrained from not only going ahead on this front but also prohibited from filing new cases either in the Indian courts or in abroad. Curiously, GE and Bechtel have already conveyed that they would not like to be party to Tuesdays hearing as they did not want to involve in the matter relating to the jurisdiction.