Centre asks SEBI to probe ONGC auction

New Delhi: With the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) disinvestment barely scraping through, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said the government has decided to study the auction process before going ahead with stake sale of other companies. "ONGC auction is the first case. We shall have to analyse and then make assessment," Mukherjee told reporters here.

The share sale of ONGC scraped through with largest insurer LIC coming to the rescue at the last moment. Mukherjee had on Thursday said that the stake sale was subscribed 98.3 per cent yielding government Rs 12,733 crore. Against an offer of 42.77 crore shares, the final demand was for 42.04 crore shares. Out of this LIC has reportedly purchased 41 crore shares.

The Indian government has already asked Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to investigate the technical glitches that led to confusion about the subscription of ONGC share auction.

On account of the rush towards the close of the bidding process, the stock exchanges failed to upload the subscription amount leading to confusion about the total quantum of bids. The government late night clarified that the auction has been successful and they have been able to raise the targeted amount.

With the ONGC disinvestment going through the government has raised Rs 13,878 crore through stake sale in PSUs in the current fiscal. The government had set a target of mopping up Rs 40,000 crore from disinvestment in the current fiscal. The government is still toying with the idea of raising money through buyback under which the cash rich bluechip PSUs will be asked to buy government`s stake.