Sundareshan dismisses Gammell's comments as unfounded

Blaming Cairn Energy for the delay in getting approval for selling its stake in its Indian arm Cairn India, the Union Government on Friday asserted that the Government would decide on giving its approval to the Cairn-Vedanta deal by the end of this year.

Talking to newsmen here, Petroleum Secretary S. Sundareshan said the Government held no particular views on the deal and was completely neutral.

“We will examine Cairn's application absolutely on merit and come to a decision,” he said.

Dismissing Cairn Energy Chief Executive Bill Gammell's comments that delays in government approval will hit India's image as an investment destination, as unfounded, Mr. Sundareshan said “These apprehensions are absolutely unfounded. The delay in seeking approval was on Cairn's part. It was the Petroleum Ministry which informed Cairn Energy that it required permission of the government to undertake this deal,” he said. He said Cairn Energy took its time in making the application and things would have been different had it done so when Vedanta made applications to SEBI on August 17 for on open offer for an additional 20 per cent.

“There is no delay on our part. Cairn applied for government approval only a few weeks back,” he said.

Mr. Sundareshan said the government would ascertain technical and financial capability of the new owner before giving its nod.Mr. Sundareshan said the Petroleum Ministry had so far not sought any more documents from Cairn and was acting on the applications that were submitted last month.

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