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Relinquishing TIDCO rights an `excellent' decision

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI SEPt. 17. It was an "excellent decision" by the then Government to relinquish the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation's rights to invest in the "zero conversion bond" (ZCB) issued by the SPIC, the Finance Secretary, N. Narayanan, told a special court here on Wednesday.

Deposing before Special Judge-I, R. Rajamanickam, in the case of the `SPIC disinvestment scam' during the previous AIADMK rule, Mr. Narayanan, who was the Finance Secretary then also, said during cross-examination by defence that the decision to renounce the TIDCO's rights in the ZCB was taken after due application of mind by all concerned. Because of the renunciation, neither the Government nor the TIDCO suffered any loss. It was only proper that the renunciation of rights was made in favour of the co-promoter. Because of the decision not to subscribe to ZCB, the TIDCO stood to benefit. Mr. Narayanan said the Government faced a financial crunch then.

The Chief Minister's decision (to relinquish the TIDCO's rights) was correct and was also a policy decision. The procedure was followed in respect of the decision on renunciation of rights.

Besides Ms. Jayalalithaa, who has been cited as the main accused, the accused are the former Industries Secretary, C. Ramachandran, and A.C. Muthiah, industrialist.

The case was registered by the CBI on the orders of the Madras High Court following a petition by the Janata Party President, Subramaniam Swamy.

The allegation was that Ms. Jayalalithaa and Mr. Ramachandran abused their official position to favour M.A. Chidambaram (since deceased) and his son, Mr. Muthiah, then vice-chairman, SPIC, in bringing back Chidambaram as the chairman of the joint sector company and to renounce the State Government undertaking's rights to invest in ZCB. Because of this, there was loss to the Government.

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