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Adjournment motion on UTI muddle defeated

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Aug. 2

THE controversial private placement of shares and debentures of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) with the Unit Trust of India in 1994 figured prominently in today's debate in Parliament, with the former Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, seeking a thoro ugh probe into the deal, which then aggregated over Rs 1,000 crore.

Speaking on adjournment motion moved by the Opposition on the UTI muddle -- which was defeated by a voice vote -- Mr Fernandes specifically demanded that the Government should act on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) earlier report on the deal, while alleging that the investigating officer concerned was transferred.

Besides Mr Fernandes, Mr Kirit Somaiya of the ruling BJP, too, named RIL, along with other corporates such as Zee Telefilms, DSQ Software and HFCL for causing losses amounting to `hundreds of crores' to investors. All those involved in defrauding the UTI and small investors should be put behind bars, he said.

Mr Raashid Alvi (BSP) charged that ``dark clouds are hovering over the Indian political scene which is now being taken over by the corporate world''. He said that he had raised the issue of Reliance's financial deals as early as December 2000, but no off icial action had been taken.

Today's focus on Reliance is a follow-up of the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha's remarks in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, when he raised the private placement issue. Mr Sinha had said that this was the UTI's single largest investment involving any com pany and that too, in an off-market deal. The fact that the decision was taken during the Congress regime, in which Dr Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister, was also highlighted by Mr Sinha and other supporters of the ruling alliance.

Meanwhile, RIL is reported to have denied that there were any irregularities in the private placement transaction, resulting in losses to the UTI.

Related links:
Vital file on UTI deal with Reliance missing

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