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Anil Nanda wants Escorts board to review stake sale

New Delhi, Aug. 2: Anil Nanda is pretty confident that the board of directors of Escorts Ltd will review its approval for the sale of a 17.1 per cent stake in Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EIHRC) once it realises the subterfuge that brother Rajan and others undertook to turn a charitable trust into a company three years ago.

Anil Nanda admits he woke up three years too late and when he discovered the truth behind 'affaire EIHRC he dashed off letters to the Escorts directors urging them to stall the stake sale.

The spokesperson for Anil Nanda told The Telegraph that Rajan Nanda never realised in the year 2000 the illegality that was made to convert Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC) promoted by the Nandas as a charitable society from the early eighties into a company.

However, it took Anil Nanda not only three years to realise it but it took a June 2003 board meeting by Escorts Limited, when it decided to divest 17.1 per cent of its 80 per cent equity in the company to Merlion India Fund, apparently for the purpose of generating funds. Merlion is owned by Stanchart and Singapore-based Tamasek Holdings, which has interests in life sciences.

Apart from the 80 per cent held by Escorts, 10 per cent in EHIRC is held by cardiologist Naresh Trehan and another 10 per cent belongs to Rajan Nanda through investment companies.

“Ignorance of law is no excuse and Anil Anand is guilty of that,” the spokesperson said. He said Anil Nanda’s main contention was to reconvert the company into a charitable society. “We have consulted legal opinion; there is no time-barred provision here,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the company has written to members on the Escorts board urging them to re-visit the whole issue and authorise the conversion of EIHRC into a charitable society.

“The board members were not aware of the illegal manner in which the society was converted into a firm. We have no doubt that when they are apprised of the reality, they will decide in our favour,” he said.

However, the spokesperson said Anil Nanda was not aware when the next meeting of the Escorts board would be convened by Rajan Nanda, in his capacity as the chairman of the board.

Giving a genesis of the company, the spokesperson of Anil Nanda said the conversion of the charitable trust into a company was made possible by merging the existing charitable society with another society, which was not a charitable one which was floated by him, in Chandigarh with an identical name.

The company secretary of Escorts was a party to the illegal process, he said. After the merger, it was floated as a separate company, but legal opinions say the action is not legal, he said.

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