Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday defended the purchase of shares of Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd. (NLC) and said the opposition DMK president M. Karunanidhi was jealous of her government`s achievement.
In a statement issued here, Jayalalithaa said the central government was not in favour of her suggestion, and could buy back the public holding in NLC and delist the stock.
She said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a letter to her, cited instances of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) penalising private sector companies that do not fulfil the minimum public shareholding norms, and said that government-owned companies should not face such a situation.
The prime minister also added that divesting five percent in favour of private parties will not make NLC lose its public sector character, she said.
Jayalalithaa said: "It was then that we suggested to the centre that the state government undertakings would buy the stakes from the centre, which was accepted."
Karunanidhi had earlier said that the AIADMK government should have stood firm in its stand that the centre should withdraw its proposal to divest five percent stake in NLC.
He said the centre would have revoked its decision, given the hunger strike by the NLC workers.
Jayalalithaa wondered why Karunanidhi remained silent in 2010 when SEBI changed its regulations pertaining to minimum public share holdings in private and public sector companies.
Had Karunanidhi opposed SEBI`s proposal of 10 percent minimum public holding in government companies, the situation of divestment of NLC shares would not have arisen in the first instance, she said.