Rajasthan Govt takes back limestone mine from UltraTech Cement

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Updated Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:40:27 GMT

In a setback to leading cement-maker UltraTech Cement, the Mines Department of the Rajasthan Government on Tuesday passed an order to re-possess 10 sq km of limestone mining area in Nagaur district from the Aditya Vikram Birla Group company, which had allegedly “illegally” bought it from a private firm.

Reports from Jaipur said UltraTech had bought the mine at Gotan in Nagaur district from Gotan Limestone Khanij Udyog Pvt Ltd, owned by a Chauhan family.

On August 9, the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Rajasthan had filed an FIR against four directors of the family-run firm and three directors of UltraTech, namely Kailash Chandra Birla, Rahul Mohnot and Mukesh Babu Aggarwal, and the then Director of Mines and Geology, Udaipur, besides others.

A case had been registered against them under Section 13 (1-D), 13 (2), Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998, and Sections 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code, according to sources.

Double transaction

In 1997, the Chauhan brothers’ erstwhile company, Gotan Limestone Khanij Udyog Ltd, had sold 2 sq km of the same 10 sq km mine area to JK Cement.

While this part-transfer application was still pending with the Mines Department for approval, they sold the entire 10 sq km to UltraTech Cement in 2012.

On July 23, 2012, they inducted the three new directors from UltraTech Cement into their newly formed company Gotan Limestone Khanij Udyog Pvt Ltd (GKUPL).

The same day, the Chauhan brothers resigned from the directorship of their own company by selling 100 per cent shareholding to the AV Birla Group firm for ₹160 crore.

UltraTech Cement informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on July 23, 2012 that it had acquired 100 per cent equity shares of GKUPL.

Hearing on Jan 7

On Thursday, Ultratech Cement approached the Rajasthan High Court (Jodhpur) for a stay on the order passed by the Mining Department.

The High Court has refused to grant a stay and has fixed January 7, 2015 for further hearing.