Don't Sell GAIL Shares

Wednesday, November 10, 1999

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The scandalous manner in which the Vajpayee government has offered for disinvestment 170 million shares of Gas Authority of India Ltd. at a throwaway price of Rs 70, is a matter of great concern to everyone who is keen to protect our public sector undertakings.

Despite the CAG report strongly criticising the government for disinvesting public sector shares at lower than the real price the government has agreed to the deal with MNCs such as British Gas, Enron, Templeton and Fidelity who have purchased 20 percent of GAIL's equity through the GDR route.

As noted by P Chidambaram, the former minister of Finance, the United Front government did not disinvest these shares even though Rs 100 was offered per share since the UF government was expecting Rs 150 per share. This statement adds to the gravity of the situation.

The clandestine deal by the Government of India with leading MNCs has cost the country hundreds of crores of rupees part of which must have come in the form of kickbacks to those who took the decision to disinvest these shares.

The CPI(M) demands a high level probe into this scam pending which the Government of India should stop disinvesting the valuable public sector assets in such a surreptitious manner for private gains.