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Congress alleges multi-crore scam in disinvestment

NEW DELHI, MARCH 12. Congress today alleged multi-crore scam in disinvestment of government stake in blue chip firms such as ONGC saying the SEBI's "admission of error'' in calculation of oversubscription was a "deliberate attempt to cheat'' ordinary investors and demanded a high level inquiry to bring the guilty to book.

Stating the Government was ultimately responsible for the `scam,' the party spokesman, Kapil Sibal, demanded resignation of the Disinvestment Minister, Arun Shourie, for "misguiding'' investors by publicising oversubscription of the ONGC issue within minutes of its opening and later admitting an error in calculation of bids received for buying government shares in the company.

The public issue of 10 per cent government share holding in ONGC attracted flurry of investors' interests .

Mr. Sibal said the responsibility should also be fixed on SEBI which is supposed to guard investors' interests as a market watchdog appointed by the Government. "How can you dupe ordinary people by such means. The Government has been announcing that the public issue was oversubscribed which turned out to be false. This is something which has to be investigated as it is not an isolated incident,'' Mr. Sibal said. — PTI

Charges baseless, says Shourie

The Union Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie today dismissed as `foolish' the Congress' charge that the Government had influenced retail investors by manipulating figures and said that the overwhelming response to ONGC's public issue was a `great achievement' of the NDA Government.

"We are not violating the model code of conduct of the Election Commission by stating the facts about oversubscription of the six issues and investment therein by not only the domestic investors but some of the best known funds in the world,'' Mr Shourie told reporters here.

— UNI

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