The government will disqualify any company convicted for fraud and serious corporate offences from participating in the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, according to new disinvestment guidelines.
Any firm facing a conviction by a court of law or indictment/adverse order by a regulatory authority or has faced market regulator SEBI orders relating to fraud will be disqualified, said the guidelines.
Earlier, while selecting bidders, the government look into criteria such as net worth and experience. It has now decided to look into these additional criteria for qualification or disqualification of parties seeking to acquire stakes in CPSEs.
Any conviction by a court of law or indictment or adverse order by a regulatory authority that casts a doubt on the ability of the bidder to manage the PSU when it is disinvested or which relates to a ‘grave offence’ would constitute disqualification, it added.
‘Grave offence’ for this purpose would include orders passed by market regulator SEBI which directly relate to ‘fraud’ as defined in SEBI Act or regulations. Those orders of SEBI that cast a doubt on the ability of the bidder to manage the PSU and any conviction by a court of law would also be considered a ‘grave offence’.
“In cases where SEBI passes a prosecution order, disqualification of the bidder should arise only on conviction by the court of law,” said the latest DIPAM guidelines.
The government has set a target of Rs 15,000 crore to be raised from strategic disinvestment of PSUs in the current fiscal.
It has selected a host of companies, including Air India, for strategic stake sales and has fast-tracked the appointment of asset valuers and legal firms to manage the process.
The other public sector units which have received approvals include BEML, Scooters India, Pawan Hans, Central Electronics, Bharat Pumps & Compressors Ltd Bridge & Roof Co, Projects & Development, Hindustan Newsprint and Hindustan Prefab.
Besides, PSUs such as National Project Construction Corporation, Engineering Projects India and Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation are likely to be merged with similarly placed state-owned firms.
AS carried in ANI