BENGALURU : The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) to submit its response to a public interest litigation questioning the validity of the decision of proposed strategic transaction of disinvestment.
The Ministry of Finance and Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) issued a preliminary information memorandum on January 4, 2021, for global invitation of expression of interest (EoI) regarding the proposed strategic transaction of disinvestment.
Hearing the petition filed by BEML staff association and three other BEML employees' associations, a division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj issued notice to BEML and directed it to submit its response after senior advocate Prof Ravivarma Kumar, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, questioned the validity of the decision.
The petitioner alleged that the decision to privatise is an effort by the government to allow back-door entry to corporations in the defence sector and will compromise national security, sovereignty and integrity.
It was stated in the petition that the organised labour protests by the employees' unions had halted the plans of the MoF and DIPM in divesting its share in the BEML for almost five years, since the In-Principle approval was passed on October 27, 2016 for strategic disinvestment of 26 percent equity in the BEML Limited out of the government of India shareholding of 54.03 percent along with management control of the BEML, which plays a vital role in defence, aerospace and other fields.
The EoI from interested bidders have been received and the evaluation process by the transaction advisor in underway, the petitioner said, adding that the sale of BEML would undermine the goal of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.