Supreme Court allows Centre to sell Hindustan Zinc stake, orders CBI probe in 2002 divestment

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The Supreme Court (SC) has cleared the divestment in Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL), CNBC-TV18 reported. HZL has ceased to be a government company as the government, an ordinary shareholder, has a 29.5 percent residuary stake, SC added.

The court added that the government was entitled to make a decision on divestment shareholding, as long as the process is transparent and realizes the best prices.

Centre sought closure of preliminary inquiry into 2002 Hind Zinc divestment. However, the court held that there existed a prima facie case of violation of divestment norms in the 2002 government stake sale and disallowed the closure. The court directed a regular CBI probe into it now.

In 2014, the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) moved an application in the court alleging undervaluation of shares during 2002 divestment.

Following the allegations, the apex court stayed any further divestment of government stake in the company in 2016.

In March, the government moved to court seeking a nod for divesting a further stake of 29.54 percent.

HZL is one of the largest integrated producers of zinc and lead and a leading producer of silver.

It has facilities in Rampura Agucha, Chanderiya, Dariba, Kayad and Zawar in Rajasthan, along with zinc-lead processing and refining facilities and a silver refinery at Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.

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