The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday referred the $9.6 billion Cairn-Vedanta deal to a group of ministers after sharp differences emerged at its meeting.
"It has been referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM)...the GoM will be headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee," Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy said.
On Tuesday, the UK-based Vedanta Group had said it has received market regulator Sebi's nod to acquire a 51 per cent stake in Cairn India and will launch an open offer soon.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in July 2010, more than a month before Cairn Energy announced stake sale in its Indian unit to Vedanta, had said that royalty, like any other levy, is cost recoverable. It had cited provisions in the field contracts to assert its point.
Cairn India, which holds 70 per cent stake in the 6.5 billion barrels Rajasthan block, does not pay any royalty and is opposed to making it cost recoverable as it will dent its profits. ONGC holds the remaining 30 per cent stake in the block.