New Delhi: Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh on Thursday claimed that his research has compelled the government to halt the disinvestment process in Pawan Hans Helicopters, Central Electronics Corporation and Concor.
Speaking to IANS, Vallabh said, “The Congress had made Concor, PHL and CEL but this government is selling these to cronies. All these were highlighted by us and I individually researched who was the buyer and in the PHL case, one of the buyers company was registered in Cayman Islands and the company was only six months old. Similarly, CEL was sold to furniture company for amount less than its one year profit.”
The Congress has been attacking the government over disinvestment of Pawan Hans, the helicopter service provider, on May 1, saying the region’s largest helicopter service was a strategic organisation that should have been retained after the government decided to sell 51 per cent stake to Star9 Mobility Private Ltd for Rs 211.14 crore.
“Pawan Hans is southeast Asia’s largest helicopter company with a fleet of 42 helicopters for off-shore operations, connecting inaccessible areas, charter services, search and rescue work, VIP transportation, corporate and special charters, hotline washing of insulators and heli-pilgrimages (Kedarnath, Badarinath, Amartnath, Maa Vaishno Devi among others),” Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh had said.
Noting that Pawan Hans is a very strategic organisation catering to the ONGC, the HAL and the BSF with 51 per cent stake with the Centre and 49 per cent with ONGC before the disinvestment process, he asked: “Did the government explore merging Pawan Hans with ONGC, keeping in mind they already have 49 per cent stake and Pawan Hans playing a very strategic role with ONGC, HAL etc?”
“A company that has been consistently making net profits suddenly starts making losses since 2018-19 around the same time when the disinvestment was first processed. Is this again an attempt to lower the valuation to ease sales to someone who would benefit?” the Congress leader alleged.
In the case of Container Corporation, Vallabh has questioned the sale of stakes on September 13, 2021, when the company is generating profits and declaring average dividends of Rs 365 crore per year in the last 4 years. He asked, “Why is the Government considering changing land licensing fees (LLF) from existing 6 per cent to 2-3 per cent and lease period from 5 years to 35 years? To support Adani Port’s saying of ‘Acquiring CONCOR will be a breeze’ and ‘it can easily acquire strategic target CONCOR’. Is the proposal to reduce LLF an indirect way to hand over developed Government land to private parties for the long term?”
He had said that CONCOR is a zero debt company with consistent total income, net profit, and dividend. For paying 99 per cent upfront lease, it has to raise debts of Rs 3,500 crore. Debts will directly hurt the valuation. Is the entire transaction planned to reduce the valuation of CONCOR?”