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SC upholds disinvestment of WB Govt shares in Metro Dairy

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the disinvestment of shares by West Bengal Government in Metro Dairy to Keventer Agro and dismissed the appeal filed by Adhir Rajan Choudhary challenging the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court refusing to initiate a probe into the disinvestment.

The High Court Division Bench of Justice Prakash Shrivatsava and Justice Rajarshi Bhardwaj had on June 13, 2022 dismissed the PIL filed by Choudhury which alleged that there was lack of transparency in West Bengal Government’s sale of its 47 per cent stake in Metro Dairy to private organisation Keventer Agro Ltd in 2017.

The order of the Supreme Court today finally closes the controversy over the policy decision of the West Bengal Government to sell its 47 per cent stake in Metro Dairy in an auction for ₹85 crore to Keventer Agro.

Public-private venture

Metro Dairy was established in 1991 as a public-private venture. After the exit of NDDB, the state-run West Bengal Milk Producers Federation had 47 per cent stake, and the remaining 53 per cent was owned by Keventer Agro Ltd.

Chowdhury had alleged in his petition that the Government, which set up the company with public money had suffered a loss of at least ₹500 crore by selling its stake in Metro Dairy to Keventer Agro at a low price.

Accordingly, he had contended that a probe must be initiated into the alleged scam.

Vindicates stand

“This vindicates the stand of Keventer Agro that the policy decision called for no interference, the valuation of shares of Metro Dairy was proper, the process followed by the Government was completely transparent and fair and the price offered by Keventer Agro for purchase of the shares was also adequate. The petitioner had also asked for a CBI inquiry which has as a consequence of this dismissal been rejected,” Debanjan Mandal,Managing Partner, Fox & Mandal, representing Keventer Agro said in a statement.

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