SC asks Vedanta Aluminium to deposit security

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Bombay High Court judgement which had asked Vedanta Aluminium to deposit Rs 187 crore with the court as security for compensation to a Chinese power equipment firm against stoppage of work at its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in Odisha.

A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Gyan Sudha Misra also sought the reply of Chinese power equipment manufacturer Shenzen Shandong Nuclear Power Construction Company (SSNPCC) on the plea within four weeks.

The high court in December 2012 had also directed billionaire Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Aluminum not to sell, lease or create third party rights on the asset for the same amount.

The high court had passed the judgement on a plea by SSNPCC against Vedanta Aluminum for allegedly causing losses due to work stoppage at the alumina refinery at Lanjigarh.

The Vedanta had planned to expand its alumina production capacity in Lanjigarh with bauxite mined from the nearby Niyamgiri hills but the environment ministry had denied clearance forcing it to shut down the plant.

The chinese firm, SSNPCC had filed an arbitration plea in the beginning of 2012 to recover its alleged dues from Vedanta saying the firm has incurred 'tremendous losses.'

Vedanta Aluminum gave order to SSNPCC in 2008 for setting up co-generation units on a turn-key basis for the Lanjigarh project.

The petition said that Shandong was contracted for five jobs to build a 210 MW co-generation power plant that included offshore engineering and technical services.