Sesa Goa shareholder moves SC against Vedanta-Cairn deal

Sesa Goa shareholder moves SC against Vedanta-Cairn deal

New Delhi: A shareholder of Sesa Goa on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking to restrain it from participating in Cairn India’s takeover by parent Vedanta group, saying the company was under probe for alleged serious frauds.

The petitioner, Harinarayan G. Bajaj, said that Sesa Goa’s acquisition by successive players since 1998 has been challenged in the Supreme Court, which has asked the Bombay high court to hear the case.

Vedanta group has signed a deal to acquire oil firm Cairn Energy’s Indian arm Cairn India for $9.6 billion for which it is seeking part funding by Sesa Goa, which the London-based group acquired in 2007.

Bajaj alleged that the company itself was acquired by violating the provisions under the Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeover Regulations.

He approached the apex court “to refrain (Sesa Goa) from making any open offer or investing in the shares of Cairn India Ltd till the outcome of this petition."

According to the petitioner, Vedanata has proposed to acquire 20% shares of Cairn Energy “itself of by person acting in concert."

As per the Cairn-Vedanta deal, Vedanta will acquire 31 to 40% stake in Cairn India while the remaining 20% would be taken by group firm Sesa Goa.

The Supreme Court is yet to take a view on admitting the petition filed by Bajaj’s counsel Mahesh Agarwal.

“Sesa Goa could be a person acting in concert with the Vedanta group," he said.

Bajaj had in 1998 challenged the indirect takeover of the Sesa Goa, before the high court and later the Supreme Court, where the matter is still pending.

“Any purchase of the shares of the Cairn Energy Ltd by Sesa Goa from the minority shareholders of the Cairn Energy would result into set of irreversible," he said claiming that Sesa Goa’s cash reserve of Rs7,835 crore as of March 2010 could be used to fund acquisition of Cairn India.

According to him, Serious Fraud and Investigations Office (SFIO) is already investigating the affairs of the company.