New Delhi: The Centre has decided to sell enemy shares belonging to Pakistanis, which are worth Rs 3,000 crore at present. 

There are as many as 6,50,75,877 shares of 20,323 Pakistanis left behind at the time of Partition in 996 Indian companies in the Stock Exchange and were seized after 1965 and 1971 wars and declared them as “enemy shares”. 

According to Enemy Property Act 1968, "Enemy property" refers to any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm.

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After Modi government took charge in 2014, it succeeded  in bringing about an  amendment in 2017, that authorised it to dispose  enemy property.  

This step of the Centre will lead to monetisation of movable enemy property lying dormant for decades and the proceeds will be used for development and social welfare programmes.

An official note said that the chapter of their returning to their owners in Pakistan or their legal heirs anytime now stands closed.

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Out of 996 companies, 588 are functional/ active companies, 139 of these are listed with remaining being unlisted.  Value of all these shares is estimated to be over Rs 3000 crore.

Following the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, it was decided the shares, which  are under the custody of Custodian of Enemy Property of India (CEPI) under Ministry of Home Affairs, will be sold and the process will be overseen by the the  Department of Investment and Public Asset Management. 

The Cabinet note stated that the deposit amount will be sent to the Government Account under disinvestment proceeds.

Total shares, known as "enemy shares numbering 6,50,75,877 worth Rs 3,000 crore, are lying unutilised because enemy property act includes movable and immovable property, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after the Cabinet meeting.

"The process for selling these shares is to be approved by the alternative mechanism under the chairmanship of the finance minister and comprising minister of road transport and highways and Home Minister," it said.

The mechanism will be supported by a high-level committee of officers co-chaired by the secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, Home Affairs secretary (with representatives from DEA, DLA, Corporate Affairs and CEPI) that would give its recommendations with regard to quantum, price/price-band, principles/ mechanisms for sale of shares.

Sources said the shares sued to  throw up more than Rs 40 crore only in income every year now, including dividends and rents. The companies included many  blue-chips, including Tata Steel, Wipro, Nelco, Unit Trust of India schemes, Shaw Wallace, United Breweries, Birla Corporation, Grasim Industries, ACC, India Cements, Digvijay Cement, Hindustan Lever, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, NEPA Mills, Poddar Mills, Kohinoor Mills, Phoenix Mills, JK Synthetics, Cipla and Ashok Leyland.

The noted added that before initiation of the sale of any enemy shares, the CEPI would certify that the sale of the shares is not in contravention of any judgment, decree or order of any court, tribunal or other authority or any law for the time being in force and can be disposed of by the government.

(With agency inputs)