Maran gives clean chit to Hutch-Vodafone ahead of FIPB meeting

Mumbai: Communication and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran has given a clean chit to the Hutch-Vodafone deal, saying there was nothing wrong with the transaction, even as the foreign investment promotion board is due to meet on April 27 to finalise the licensing conditions.

FIPB is currently looking into the alleged violation in FDI limit in the Hutch-Vodafone deal, a senior government official said.

"The FIPB is likely to take a decision tomorrow on Vodafone issue," Ajay Dua, secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion, said. Dua''s comment came after the FIPB thrice deferred decision on the Hutch-Vodafone issue.

"As far as my ministry is concerned, we have said there is no breach of licensing conditions either by Hutchison or Vodafone," news agency reports quoted Maran as saying.

He, however, said FIPB was the right authority to do the due diligence and go into details of the shareholding pattern.

Meanwhile, the two minority shareholders of Hutch-Essar - Asim Ghosh and Analjit Singh - besides officials of Hutchison and Vodafone will meet finance secretary Ashok Jha to clarify queries that the finance ministry may have.

Max Group chairman Analjit Singh also met FIPB officials and stated that there was no agreement between him and Hutchison (now Vodafone) to sell his shares on a future date at a face value of Rs10.

If the sale takes place, it will be on market price, Singh said, adding: "But I have decided to stay with the company and I am the sole owner of my stake."