KotaCongress leader Shanti Dhariwal has accused the Union government of selling off the machinery of Instrumentation Limited (IL), a public sector unit in Kota lying defunct since April this year, at “throwaway prices”. However, the company authorities have refuted the Dhariwal’s charge and described the entire sell-off process as “transparent”.According to Dhariwal, an ex-MLA from Kota (north) and former Congress minister, the Centre had authorised Metal and Scrap Trading Corporation (MSTC), also a PSU, to sell off the “costly” IL machinery through e-tendering. “MSTC got the e-tendering process cancelled two times in the past to favour a Pune-based private company, which bought the IL machinery in the third round of e-tendering for around ₹2.25 crore,” alleged Dhariwal. “The value of the (IL) machinery is many times more than the price it was sold,” he added.Dhariwal said the Centre has also authorised National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), another PSU, to sell the IL’s assets in Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and other places in the country. “The closure of IL has been done under a pre-planned conspiracy by the Union government to oblige its people through selling the IL properties at low prices,” he alleged.The Congress leader said this is not the first time the BJP-led government has sold any government unit “to benefit some people”. “Earlier such governments had sold premium Lakshmi Vilas Hotel of Udaipur for just ₹7 crore, while Hindustan Zinc was also disinvested at throwaway prices,” he added. Dhariwal demanded an independent probe into the IL machinery sell-off. “Otherwise, Congress party will agitate over the issue on the roads,” he said. On the other hand, IL chairman and managing director (CMD) MP Ishwar categorically denied Dhariwal’s allegations. “Only the old machinery of IL Kota has been sold by MSTC for ₹2.75 crore and not ₹2.25 crore, while the new machinery has been sent to the Palakkad unit of IL (in Kerala) for use there,” he said.“IL Kota had kept reserve price of ₹4 crore for its old machinery, but when price of only ₹1 crore was offered for the machinery in first e-tendering a few months back, MSTC pursued e-tendering process for 6 to 7 times to get due prices,” Ishwar said. “Finally the tender was awarded to a company which quoted highest price of ₹2.75 crore. So, the allegations of selling old machinery at low prices are baseless and politically motivated,” he added.He said MSTC has also awarded tenders of IL Kota’s inventory, which includes machinery parts, to the same company for ₹1.76 crore. He said that tenders for other appliances such as coolers were also awarded by MSTC to a Kota-based company for ₹2.34 lakh. “Tendering of old machinery, inventory and other appliances was done in a transparent manner,” Ishwar said.Set up around 50 years ago, IL Kota manufactured telecom switching systems, panel, electronic transmitters, railway signalling system, defence products and nuclear power special products among other things. The company was declared sick around two decades ago and since then it was running in losses until the Union government decided to permanently shut down it in April this year.