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Cameron bids to unblock Cairn sale

David Cameron has intervened to help clear the path for Cairn Energy's plans to sell control of oilfields in the Indian state of Rajasthan by writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

In a letter sent earlier this week, Mr Cameron highlighted Cairn's deal to sell its share in the fields to the London-listed Indian miner Vedanta Resources.

The transaction, which is awaiting clearance from the Indian authorities, was unveiled last summer, but has been bogged down by issues related to royalty payments from the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited, a minority partner in the fields.

Speaking after a meeting with Cairn Energy chief executive Sir Bill Gammell yesterday, the Oil Minister, S Jaipal Reddy, suggested the cabinet would make a decision in time for the deal to be completed by the company's deadline of 15 April. "They [Cairn] are worried about their timeframe," he said. "I told them there is no need to worry."