A PIL Monday urged the Supreme Court to order re-evaluation of Coal India Ltd’s worth and sought the cancellation of its shares issued through an IPO in October 2010 on account of their “gross undervaluation” which caused a Rs.175,000 crore loss to public exchequer.
The PIL petitioner, Ehsan Khalid, told the court that though the initial public offering (IPO) garnered Rs.15,100 crore when viewed at proportionate asset value of coal – the benefit of which the investors would reap forever, but the country got only Rs.23.33 per ton of coal as at point of time CIL had coal reserve of 64 billion tonnes.
This price, which the government got with the disinvestment of its 10 percent equity, has further dipped to Rs.12.45 per ton as additional 57 billion tonnes of coal reserves have been added to the worth of CIL, he contended.
As petitioner told the court that he had got all these details from the annual report of the CIL, the bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Fakir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice Vikramajit Sen asked him to serve the copies of his petition on the coal ministry and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and then it (apex court) would to consider his plea.
The petitioner has sought the re-evaluation of CIL’s worth based on the coal reserves as it enjoyed near monopoly in India.
He said this was necessary and “a matter of utmost national importance” as the government was intending to further disinvest 10 percent equity of CIL by way of IPO.
“Private investors are enjoying the benefit of over 12 billion tons of coal vested with CIL, on payment of only Rs.12 per ton which is literally a broad daylight robbery of common Indian”, the petitioner said.
The court directed the listing of the matter after two weeks.