Govt to sell 6.5 crore 'enemy' shares

Govt to sell 6.5 crore 'enemy' shares

Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad briefs the media after a Cabinet meeting, in New Delhi, Thursday. PTI

Setting the stage for monetising "enemy properties", the Union Cabinet on Thursday gave an in-principle clearance for the sale of 6.50 crore shares valued at around Rs 3,000 crore in 1968 belonging to those people who left India for Pakistan and China after the wars.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has been authorised to sell 6,50,75,877 "enemy" shares in 996 companies of 20,323 shareholders, which are at present under the Custodian of Enemy Property of India (CEPI). Of the 996 companies, 588 are functional companies.

Sale proceeds are to be deposited as disinvestment proceeds in the Government Account maintained by Ministry of Finance.

"The decision will lead to monetisation of enemy shares that had been lying dormant for decades since coming into force and the Enemy Property Act in 1968. Sale proceeds from this may be used for development and social welfare programmes," Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

The process for selling these shares will be anchored by an Alternative Mechanism (AM) under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, which will also have Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari as members. The mechanism will be supported by a High-Level Committee of officers, which would give its recommendations on quantum, price/price-band and principles/mechanisms for the sale of shares.

Enemy properties are properties and companies left behind by people who took Pakistani nationality after the 1965 and 1971 wars and taken over by the government. After the 1965 war, India and Pakistan signed the Tashkent Declaration on January 10, 1966.

According to a government report, India holds assets worth at least Rs 1.07 lakh crore, including 11,882 acre of land, belonging to people who migrated to Pakistan after 1965 and 1971 wars. Besides this, there are 149 immovable enemy properties of Chinese nationals, spread over Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.