Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) said on Friday that it has been investing in cigarette maker ITC
with the bonafide objective of enhancing returns for its policyholders, investors and in the interest of public welfare.
While denying any contradictions with the government's tobacco control policies, LIC, in its affidavit, has said that there is no regulation banning investment in ITC. LIC
has said investments made in ITC
are through a secondary market that are routine in nature. The insurer has sought the petition's dismissal.
Public sector insurance companies
and Specified Undertaking of United Trust of India (SUUTI) hold 32 per cent stake in ITC.
Sumitra Pednekar, wife of former home minister Satish Pednekar, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, a surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital and R Venkataramanan, managing trustee, Tata Trusts (in his individual capacity) filed a PIL
in April against the government's investment in tobacco companies.
The high court made the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) a party to the petition in the same month.
The stock market regulator, however, has sought to distance itself from the issue. In its affidavit that was filed on Friday, Sebi
said that petitioners have neither prayed for any relief against it nor alleged its involvement in the share ownership.
is a body functioning in the interest of investors and is responsible for regulating deals in the securities market, said the regulator, adding that no issue has been raised in the PIL
against it. "Sebi
is neither a necessary nor a proper party for the present proceeding," it said and requested the court to exclude it from list of respondents.