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A Delhi court is to leave scrutiny of Hutchison Essar’s ownership structure to Indian regulators who must also approve Vodafone’s bid to control India’s fourth-largest mobile operator.
Telecom Watchdog, an Indian consumer advocacy group, this week filed a petition with Delhi High Court alleging that Hutchison Essar’s ownership structure violated the country’s foreign ownership laws.
The petition asks the Indian government to cancel Hutchison Essar’s licence to provide mobile telecoms services in the country.
But the court on Friday adjourned the petition for two months to allow the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, part of India’s finance ministry, to resume an inquiry launched last week.
Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator, last month agreed to buy a controlling interest in Hutchison Essar from Hutchison Telecommunications of Hong Kong.
Separately, HTIL on Friday said its minority shareholders voted to approve the deal by an “overwhelming majority”.
Telecom Watchdog’s petition claims Hutchison Essar exceeded a cap on foreign direct investment through a complex shareholding arrangement.
HTIL on Friday reiterated that Hutchison Essar’s structure was compliant with Indian regulation.