* Pirc criticises political donations, Agarwal as chairman
* AGM to be held on Aug. 28 in London
LONDON Aug 14 UK shareholder advisory group
Pirc has criticised India-focused miner Vedanta over
political donations made ahead of elections in the country this
year, advising shareholders to withhold votes on its report and
accounts later this month.
London-listed Vedanta said in the annual report for its
financial year to the end of March that it had made donations of
$2.01 million in the year, "either in a trust or directly in
respect of the Indian general election". That compares with
$0.02 million a year earlier.
"The board states that it believes that supporting the
political process in India will encourage and strengthen the
democratic process. However, there are concerns with the amount
involved," Pirc said.
"Further, the use of shareholder funds as a donation for
political parties is a questionable use of shareholders money."
Millions of Indian voters have cast their ballots in key
state elections this year, including in iron ore producing state
Goa and in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous and politically
Vedanta's shareholder meeting, typically one of the most
heated in the sector, is due to be held on Aug. 28.
The miner has in the past fought off accusations from
investors and pressure groups over environmental and health
Pirc also advised shareholders to oppose the election of
Anil Agarwal, who controls the miner, as executive chairman.
Vedanta had no immediate comment.