Ruias-led Essar Group today launched a scathing attack on Vodafone saying that the British company is trying to gain 100 per cent control of the telecom JV Vodafone-Essar at an “artificially depressed value”.  A day after Vodafone complained to market regulator Sebi to probe allegations of insider trading in India Securities Limited, a listed company of Essar group, Ruias said the British company’s allegations are baseless.

Essar has proposed to merge Essar Telecommications Holdings Private Limited (ETHPL), which has 11 per cent stake in Vodafone-Essar, with India Securities Limited in order to find out Fair Market Value of its stake in the joint venture.

Vodafone-Essar is the third largest telecom operator in India with over 124 million mobile subscribers. Vodafone had bought nearly 67 per cent stake from Hutchison in 2007 while Essar holds the remaining stake.

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