SEBI has once again sought some clarifications from the merchant banker of Cairn India on the proposed takeover by Vedanta group.

Cairn India had filed its offer document with SEBI in August 2010.

A week ago, there were intense speculations in the media that SEBI had cleared the issue. In fact, SEBI's Web site had showed that it cleared Vedanta group's Rs 13,610-crore open offer but retracted it immediately and had said that the issue is “under process.” This status has now been changed to “reply awaited from merchant banker”.

SEBI officials had then confirmed that was an “inadvertent error” and immediately changed the status to “under process”.

The London-listed Vedanta had agreed to buy 51 per cent of Cairn Energy's stake in Cairn India last year and an additional 20 per cent by Sesa Goa, its Indian subsidiary, through an open offer. The open offer price had been announced at Rs 355 a share.

JM Financial is the merchant banker.

A JM Financial official declined to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Cairn Energy Plc Chief Executive, Mr Bill Gammell, in a statement accompanying the group's full-year results, said: “Cairn continues to believe the necessary approvals to complete the Vedanta transaction will be received and is working with the Government of India in a positive and constructive manner.”

The Government nod is awaited on account of differences over who will bear the royalty burden on production from Cairn's Rajasthan block.

At present, ONGC, a 30 per cent partner in the block, bears the burden. ONGC wants the royalty payment to be shared. The dispute has reached the Cabinet.

On receipt of final observations from SEBI, Vedanta group has to send a letter of offer to all shareholders within 45 days. The open offer begins after 10 days thereafter and remains open for 20 more days.

Currently, promoters – Cairn UK Holding Plc – hold 62.25 per cent stake in Cairn India. FII holding stood at 10.77 per cent, domestic institutions at 7.3 per cent while retail investors hold 19.68 per cent in Cairn India.

The stock of Cairn India gained 1.3 per cent to close at Rs 353.9 on the NSE over the previous day's close of Rs 354.05. It saw a trading volume of 20.55 lakh shares of which 69 per cent were up for delivery. On the BSE, the stock closed at Rs 353.05, a gain of 1.26 per cent.

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