New Delhi: The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Anil Agarwal, chairman of the Vedanta Group, and others to probe alleged irregularities in the disinvestment of the Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) in 2002 during the period of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
Sources said, “There are allegations that Sterlite Industries, part of Vedanta Resources, had picked up stake in the public sector undertaking at an undervalued price, resulting in the estimated losses running into hundreds of crores to the exchequer. The PE has been registered to probe whether the disinvestment led to any loss to the exchequer.”
The PE has been registered against Mr Agarwal and unknown officials of HZL, ministry of disinvestment and ministry of mines, sources added.
Sources said the agency will soon seek clarifications from Mr Agarwal and officials of ministry of disinvestment and ministry of mines.
Sources did not rule out the possibility of seeking clarifications from two former officials of the ministry who had reportedly approved the disinvestment process.
“The agency sleuths may also seek relevant records from the ministry concerned,” sources said. The company has been merged with another group Sesa Goa in August this year and renamed as Sesa Sterlite. Without registering a regular case, the agency does not have power to call anybody to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters for recording the statement.
If the agency decides to convert the PE into a regular case, then only can the CBI send summons to the people. A statement issued by then ministry of disinvestment at the time of HZL’s disinvestment, ho-wever, had justified the stake sale to Sterlite. Sources alleged serious flaws in the disinvestment process undertaken by the then government in 2002.