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Naik mum on IOC split

New Delhi, Oct. 6: Petroleum minister Ram Naik today refused to comment on the controversial proposal of selling the vast retail network of Indian Oil.

The minister said that he was out of town for the last two days and had not read media reports on the issue. Pressed further by newspersons, Naik said that he would discuss the matter with disinvestment minister Arun Shourie and only then would he be in a position to make any comment.

Later, however, he said that the cabinet’s earlier decision not to reduce government’s stake below 51 per cent in IOC, ONGC and Gail “was there”. Shourie had stated on Friday that the decision of not reducing the government’s stake in IOC below 51 per cent had been overturned at the meeting of the cabinet committee on disinvestment.

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