CLB reserves order on stay on Uninor auction

CLB reserves order on stay on Uninor auction New Delhi: The Company Law Board (CLB) on Wednesday reserved its order on Unitech plea seeking a stay on the auction of its JV firm Uninor.

A CLB bench headed by its Chairman Justice D R Deshmukh reserved its order after hearing the submissions of Telenor, the majority shareholder in the JV, Uninor and Unitech briefly.

The board would pronounce its order on Thursday.

Uninor on August 1 invited potential bidders to express interest by August 6 and said its majority owner, Norway's Telenor, was willing to pay Rs 4,190 crore for its 30 million customers and assets in case no other bidder turns up.

However, passing an interim order on August 3, the CLB had stayed the auction process till its further order.

Meanwhile, CLB's interim order was challenged before the Delhi High Court by Uninor, which modified the CLB order and said that the JV firm can receive expressions of interest (EoI) from the prospective bidders till August 8.

The High court had also given a go ahead to CLB for Wednesday’s scheduled hearing.

Realty firm Unitech, which holds 32.75 percent stake in Unitech Wireless that operates under the Uninor brand, had sought stopping of the sale fearing Telenor may be the only bidder in the auction.

Telenor further said "promoters of Unitech had acquired licences by fraud. It has been held by the Supreme Court also.. We are a government company and do not want to do business with them".

Moreover on Unitech's allegation that auction was invited without approval of the FIPB and DoT, senior counsel Parag Tripathi appearing for Uninor said that it was a conditional sale and prospective buyers are informed about it.

It was countered by Unitech's counsel adding that Supreme Court has only cancelled the 122 licences by terming the policy of the government as faulty and "no one has held them as guilty of fraud".

"There was no whisper in the Supreme Court order that we were guilty of fraud. These are charges only in the air and trial is in progress," said Unitech's counsel.

They further told that Telenor "was not a holy cow" and said that it was alleged of fraud in Thailand.
According to them there was no panic in the market after the apex court cancelled 122 licenses and it was only "they are creating panic to ouster the minority from the Uninor".

PTI