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Supreme Court Seeks CBI Report in Hindustan Zinc Disinvestment Case

Metal News - Published on Wed, 15 Jul 2020

Image Source: HZL Vedanta
ToI reported that India’s Supreme Court has asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta to submit in sealed cover the preliminary enquiry report of the CBI on alleged irregularities in the Union government's decision to divest the Centre's remaining 29.5% stake in Hindustan Zinc Limited. Appearing for petitioner National Confederation of Officers' Association of Central Public Sector Undertakings, advocate Prashant Bhushan said most investigating officers in the CBI and top officials had favoured registration of a regular case, on the basis of the irregularities pointed out in the decision to divest the government stake in HZL. However, Mehta said the procedure for closure of the case was followed scrupulously. Mehta said he was willing to place the PE report in sealed cover before the SC to dispel any misgivings about alleged irregularities claimed by Bhushan.

The finance ministry was keen to offload its remaining 29.5% share in HZL and 49% stake in Balco, hoping to raise over INR 20,000 crore, based on the 2016 market price. The option was to either sell the remaining shares to Vedanta or explore other routes such as auction on stock exchanges or a public offer. Appearing for Vedanta, senior advocate Harish Salve on Tuesday told the SC that Vedanta had no objection if the government auctioned its stake in the market, and that Vedanta was ready to participate in the general auction. he finance ministry had sought legal opinion on the issue but had not received a clear view at a time when government officers were not keen to push through the sale, fearing adverse comments from the Comptroller and Auditor General later. But the SC's January 2016 order ruling seems to have sealed the fate of selloff in these two companies after the National

Confederation of Officers' Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings filed a PIL in 2014 questioning the Centre's decision to completely exit HZL, which according them had turned into a profit-making venture.

Bhushan had alleged that in 2002-03, the disinvestment was done illegally by the Centre as it did not amend the Act passed by Parliament in 1966 creating HZL and vesting its control with the Union government. He said the government should not be permitted to violate the provisions once again by completely exiting from the erstwhile PSU.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Wed, 15 Jul 2020
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