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Centre rejects TCI's charge of interfering with coal pricing

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New Delhi: 

The Coal Ministry has denied in the Delhi High Court the allegation of UK-based The Children's Investment (TCI) Fund, a shareholder in Coal India Ltd (CIL), that it interferes with the coal pricing decisions of the PSU (public sector undertaking).

Justice Rajiv Shakdher today granted four weeks time to the hedge fund to file a rejoinder to the Centre's reply to its petition and fixed the matter for hearing on May 9.

The Coal Ministry, which sought dismissal of the plea of the offshore hedge fund, accused TCI of "forum shopping" by pursuing two separate cases in the Calcutta and the Delhi high courts on almost similar facts and sought rejection of the matter here.

"The Petitioner (TCI) has resorted to forum shopping as is evident from the fact that apart from filing the instant petition, the petitioner has also filed a civil suit in the Calcutta High Court seeking substantially similar reliefs based on the same alleged facts," the reply, filed by an under secretary in the ministry, said.

Terming the plea of the hedge fund as not "maintainable", the ministry said it does not interfere with decisions of the PSU, CIL. "The petitioner failed to recognise that... coal is an essential bedrock of Indian economy and has been subject matter of regulatory measures," it said, adding that TCI had "voluntarily" decided to invest in CIL after perusing Red Herring Prospectus (RHP).

The Centre said the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) held several meetings to resolve the issue but, in the meantime, TCI moved the court.

Earlier, TCI moved the court alleging the Coal Ministry has not been allowing CIL to function independently and interferes on coal pricing which has been detrimental to commercial interests of the hedge-fund management.



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