In a major development on the battle for majority stakes between the promoters — the state government and TCG, the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) last week sent back a cheque by TCG for Rs 17 crore. As per Business Standard, the reason is an agreement of March 2002 based on which the state had to sell 155 million shares to the group. Acceptance of cheque by WBIDC would have stamped TCG’s dominance in HPL.
2011 saw the Supreme Court dismiss a petition by TCG against a decision of the Calcutta High Court that set aside a Company Law Board directive asking the state government to exit the project by selling its stake to TCG. However, the apex court verdict did not specify on the shareholding pattern. The state is looking to auction the controversial stake. Commerce minister Partha Chatterjee has shown keenness to take the auction route, though he says TCG will get priority if the firm is ready to pay according to the new valuation. Players like Reliance and Indian Oil Corporation, besides prospective equity partners with whom the firm is in talks, may enter the fray in case of an auction.