A division bench of Calcutta high court has dismissed the state's appeal seeking transfer of HPL shares to the shortlisted bidder Indian Oil — citing a Supreme Court order, as per Times Of India.
The state has to wait till Wednesday for the single bench of high court to hear out the protracted dispute between the stakeholders — The Chatterjee Group (TCG) and state government — over 155 million HPL shares. The status of the case is, thus, the same as it was in May 2013 when the HC single bench imposed a stay on transfer till the dispute over ownership of shares is settled. The HPL management and state government could have kept the controversy aside and gone ahead with the bidding but the government took the legal route and moved a division bench against the single bench order. The division bench relaxed the stay on share transfer, allowing the government to effect the transfer with leave of court. However, the state's plan didn't materialize as the Supreme Court in November endorsed the single bench's stay order, calling it "just and proper."
The bottom line of the division bench order is that Indian Oil can't buy the 39.9% HPL stake on offer. It has to wait for the single bench order before it can offer to buy the 155 million disputed shares, comprising 9.22% of HPL's stake. But this is a difficult proposition for the oil PSU which wants management control of HPL. TCG has 41.07% stake in HPL while IOC has 8.89%.