The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered registration of a regular case by the CBI into the alleged irregularities in the disinvestment of the government's controlling share in Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) in 2002.

The top court, however, allowed disinvestment of the Centre's residuary 29.5 per cent share in the open market.

A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna said the recommendation of various officials of the CBI for converting the preliminary inquiry of disinvestment of HZL in 2002 into a regular case satisfies the court’s conscience that a prima facie case is made out.

It took note that despite a recommendation for registration of regular case into the alleged irregularities in the disinvestment in 2002, the preliminary inquiry was closed and directed that the CBI should register a regular case and the agency shall file its periodic status report to the court.

The bench, however, directed the Central government that it can disinvest 29.5 per cent of its residuary share in the open market, saying that after 2002, the HZL ceased to remain a government company.

It said that the Central government had ceased controlling the erstwhile PSU company since its disinvestment of shares in 2002.