Millennium Post

Irregularities in disinvestment process: Pawan Hans staffers forum

Mumbai: Pawan Hans Ltd's staffers body PHJEF has alleged irregularities in the company's ongoing disinvestment process and has urged the civil aviation ministry to "re-fix" the bidding norms/ eligibility criteria.

In a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu last week, Pawan Hans Joint Employees Forum (PHJEF) has also requested the government to ensure the interest of the company and its employees do not get compromised in the process.

The forum comprises both officers and employees union of PHL.

In Pawan Hans, the government holds 51 per cent stake through the Civil Aviation ministry while the rest 49 per cent stake is with oil and gas behemoth ONGC.

"We express our serious concern on a major flaw/deviation in the ongoing disinvestment process of the company...."the bidders who are eligible (financial and otherwise) for only half of the company's total stake, full stake of the company is now being offered. This will not only result into bestowing undue favours but also selling company to incompetent and ineligible buyers," PHJEF alleged in the letter.

On April 13, the government issued the information memorandum for the 51 per cent stake sale in the profit-making Pawan Hans Ltd and had sought EoI from interested bidders by June 18.

The eligibility criteria including financial net worth of the prospective bidders were fixed accordingly.

Later, fresh bids were invited after ONGC board in July decided to combine its 49 per cent stake in the offer for sale by the government. The last date for submission of initial bids was also extended to September 19. "During the process, vide an addendum, option to take an additional 49 per cent stake of ONGC was given to the prospective bidders without revising their eligibility criteria. It will undermine the very aim of the disinvestment process," the forum alleged in the letter.

The forum has also accused SBI Caps, which is the transaction adviser to the strategic disinvestment of Pawan Hans, of "failing" in adequately guiding the government on issue.

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