ONGC deliberately avoided counter-offer on Cairn: Sharma

State-owned explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp today said that it "consciously" decided not to make a rival bid against Vedanta Resources' $9.6 billion offer to acquire a majority stake in Cairn India, but will do everything possible to protect its interests.

"The counter-offer date is gone. If ONGC did not make an offer, that was done consciously," ONGC chairman and managing director R S Sharma told reporters in New Delhi.

Anil Agarwal's London-listed Vedanta Resources is buying 40-51 per cent stake of Cairn India from its parent Cairn Energy Plc of UK for up to $8.48 billion.

Cairn owns the nation's largest on land oil field in Rajasthan. Vedanta is making an open offer for a further 30 per cent stake, which will give it a 60 per cent stake in Cairn India.

"The ONGC management is fully conscious of its interest and responsibility and has acted in a responsible manner," Sharma said on not making a rival offer.

ONGC, which is a 30-per cent partner with Cairn India in the giant Rajasthan oilfield, had claimed that it had pre-emption or right of first refusal in Cairn India assets.