CLB declares sale of UNI shares to Mediavest null and void

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New Delhi, Jan 21 (UNI) The Company Law Board (CLB) today declared null and void the sale of majority shares of the United News of India (UNI) to the Subhash Chandra-owned Mediavest, saying the entire deal suffered from lack of transparency.

''I declare that the allotment of impugned shares of Mediavest as null and void. I also declare that in the absence of transparency in calling for offers (shares) etc, the entire exercise of constituting a committee, its deliberations, recommendations, etc as null and void. Consequently, the Mediavest ceases to be a member and, therefore, it has become ineligible to have its nominees on the Board,'' CLB Chairman S Balasubramanian said in his 41-page order.

The CLB said the allotment of shares had been declared null and void, consequent to which the company would be deprived of the funds raised by the impugned allotment, it was now the responsibility of the Board, more particularly that of petitioners (who included the Ananda Bazar Patrika group) who have prosecuted this petition and have contended that they would have funded the company if had been sought for, to find ways and means to mobilise funds.

This could either by way of subscribing to shares, if offered, or by way of long term loans, or in any other manner, but transparently, in accordance with the Articles of Association of UNI to ensure that the company did not suffer for want of funds.

The CLB said Mediavest had become ineligible to have its nominees on UNI Board of Directors. Accordingly, its nominees shall cease to be additional directors with immediate effect.

The company shall forthwith rectify its register of members by deleting the names of Mediavest and reduce share capital and shall also refund the consideration paid by Mediavest.

The CLB Chairman noted that as far the consideration of about Rs 5 crores paid by the Mediavest had been utilised by the company and the balance of about Rs 27 crores was kept in a fixed deposit.

'' While the fixed deposit along with the accrued interest shall be paid to Mediavest immediately, the amount already spent by the company should be paid at the earliest,'' the CLB said.

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