About the Book

The two brothers had fought over many issues, but what sometimes got lost in the din of the battle cries was a simple fact: much of the tussle was over India’s natural resources, about how the resources were intended to be mined, marketed and monetised.'

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta shows how the simmering controversy over the rich natural gas reserves in the Krishna-Godavari Basin boiled over into a primetime storm on gas pricing involving the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas as well as the Prime Minister's Office, even as he introduces new dimensions to it. While many reasons have been attributed to the split in the powerful Indian business family, the Ambanis, this book argues that the battle between the Ambani brothers was largely about wresting control over reserves of natural gas that are below the ocean bed along the basin of the two greatest rivers of southern India.

With painstaking research, a meticulous perusal of press reports, as well as a few surprising exclusives, Gas Wars highlights cases of crony capitalism that allowed the Reliance group to blatantly exploit loopholes which were consciously retained in the system to benefit it. Even as the book tells the story of how the country’s largest corporate conglomerate has benefited from the way government policies are structured, it lays bare the alarming facts of a natural disaster waiting to happen due to the ruthless exploitation of the country's natural resources in order to swell the fortunes of a few.

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Gas Wars: The Launch

The Authors

PARANJOY GUHA THAKURTA is an independent journalist and an educator. His work experience, spanning 37 years, cuts across different media: print, radio, television and documentary cinema. He is a writer, speaker, anchor, interviewer, teacher and commentator in three languages: English, Bengali and Hindi. His main areas of interest are the working of the political economy and the media in India and the world, on which he has authored/co-authored books and directed/produced documentary films. He teaches and speaks on these subjects. He participates frequently in, and organizes, seminars and conferences, He is a regular contributor to publications and websites and frequently appears on the radio and on television channels as an anchor as well as an analyst.


SUBIR GHOSH is a Bengaluru-based journalist and writer. He started out his career in sales, before switching over to journalism in 1991. He has worked as a journalist for various news establishments, and handled communications for leading environmental NGOs. He specializes in conflict, environment and human rights. He has a keen interest in north-east affairs and is the author of Frontier Travails: Northeast - The Politics of a Mess published by Macmillan India in 2001. He has published two 'e-zines': The Reviewer (one that reviewed books) and Northeast Vigil (one that aggregated news and information pertaining to north-east India). His writing can be found on www.write2kill.in.


JYOTIRMOY CHAUDHURI is an independent researcher and editor based in New Delhi. His main interests have revolved around the environment, aviation and strategic affairs and he has worked in the print medium across magazines and books. At the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, he has worked in Down To Earth magazine as well as with the teams that brought out the 5th and the 7th State of the Environment Reports. Earlier, at the United Service Institution of India, New Delhi, a defence think-tank, he edited publications at their armed forces history centre. He was also associate editor at the Vayu Aerospace and Defence Review, a New Delhi-based aviation trade journal, and had a brief stint with the Tehelka group as a special correspondent.


Praise for the Book

Our economy is startling if you do not want to see its other side. If you see that side, you will see it is schizophrenic. Corporate greed has crossed all bounds as has corporate tastelessness. We used to talk of black money as a parallel economy and so it continues to be. But Reliance is a parallel State. I do not know of any country where one single firm exercises such power so brazenly, over the natural resources, financial resources, professional resources and, ultimately, over human resources as the company of the Ambanis. From Ambedkar who spoke of economic democracy to Ambani who represents a techno-commercial monopoly of unprecedented scale, is a far cry indeed.

Gopal Krishna Gandhi
Former Civil Servant, Diplomat and Governor of West Bengal

The book is outstanding on all counts: facts, research, racy reading never permitting a dull moment, yet not straying from the well-researched content. Conveys complex issues in simple language. The prologue as the curtain raiser makes the reader involved and interested. The book will serve as a good backgrounder and a ready reckoner to auditors. The depth of knowledge and detail is commendable. The issue of crony capitalism which has gripped the country so comprehensively: this subject has been clinically analyzed in chapters 10 and 14 very effectively. All in all, a must read. Strong on content, narration and objectivity. A commendable effort. I compliment the lead writer and both the supporting authors.

Vinod Rai
Former Comptroller and Auditor General of India