12 May, 2021

A Land Of No Return

Shourie’s explanations do not hold water in the face of evidence that Outlook has accessed

Sanjay Rawat
A Land Of No Return

On March 15, Kapil Sibal, the Union minister for communications and information technology, announced an inquiry into the disinvestment of VSNL in 2002 in favour of the Tatas by Arun Shourie, then disinvestment minister and later telecom minister in the NDA government. Outlook, in its March 28 issue (Acrepolis: A Plot Hijacked), had exposed how Shourie had failed to demerge 773.13 acres of surplus land from VSNL before divesting. Sibal’s order stated, “Prima facie, the way the issue of the demerger of 773.13 acres of surplus land of VSNL was handled in 2002, not only the interests of investors but also the interests of the government seem to have been adversely affected”.

Worse, even as Shourie maintained that the land belonged to the government and the original shareholders, the Tatas have already transferred 32.2 acres of the surplus 773.13 acres to the VSNL Employees Cooperative Housing Society, Chennai, following a Delhi High...

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