Reliance Energy restores power to Mumbai colony after CM intervenes

Jun 22, 2018 0

Mumbai– Reliance Energy on Friday evening announced that it will resume full power supply to the residents of a Mumbai colony after the intervention of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

In an aggressive stance, the power utility had been disconnecting daytime electric supply to the 3,250 residents of Siddharth Colony, Chembur since June 19, for non-payments of huge piled up dues of Rs 63 crore since a decade.

This morning, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam shot off a letter to Fadnavis seeking his intervention in the matter and end what he termed “inhuman treatment” of the residents there.

“The citizens have offered to pay the bills for the current month and have agreed to find a viable solution within the next 3 months. The situation in Siddharth colony is tense as the anger among the Dalit community is rising and it might create a law and order problem…,” Nirupam cautioned.

Later in the day, a delegation of Dalit and RPI leaders also met Fadnavis and government officials and the Federation of the 3,250 residents offered to give an undertaking committing to settle all their arrears within three months.

Following this, a company spokesperson said that it will stop cutting power supply to the complex with immediate effect, ending the matter on an amicable note. (IANS)

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Lenovo India appoints new CMO for Asia Pacific

Jun 11, 2018 0

New Delhi– Lenovo India on Monday appointed Bhaskar Choudhuri as the new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the Asia Pacific region.

He was previously Lenovo India’s Head of Marketing and succeeds former regional CMO Nick Reynolds who has now been appointed the company’s global Head of Marketing for Digital, Web and Social Media.

Bhaskar is tasked with expanding the brand’s footprint in the Asia Pacific region and and driving sales for PCs, tablets and smart devices across diverse markets covering Japan, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

Prior to this appointment, he led the marketing team in India for the last five years, wherein he was responsible for the marketing strategy and aligning marketing to the overall business objectives.

Under his leadership, Lenovo India launched its smartphones in the market as well as many new initiatives were taken in the digital marketing space, the company said in a statement.

Bhaskar reports to Ken Wong, President of Lenovo Asia Pacific. (IANS)

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BJP hits out at Congress for calling wheels of economy ‘punctured’

Jun 11, 2018 0

New Delhi– The BJP on Monday hit back at Congress for calling “wheels” of the Indian economy “punctured” and accused it of making “baseless and irresponsible” allegations against the government.

“Allegations labelled by (former Finance Minister P.) Chidambaram are baseless and irresponsible. He has raised the issue of growth rate while we have emerged today as the fastest growing economy in the world.

“This quarter (4th of FY 2018), the growth rate was 7.7 per cent. It was more than that of 2014 when they (UPA) left the government. We maintained the pattern of growth rate even when the situation in the world was different,” Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters here at a press conference.

Attacking the Congress, he said that it was their record that growth rate was always low while the rate of inflation was always high.

“Our government has changed it. The growth rate has increased while the rate of inflation has gone down,” he said.

Javadekar was responding to Chidambaram’s remarks in which he said that three out of the four wheels – exports, private investment, capital formation – of the national economy have been “punctured” and held the BJP government’s “administrative incompetence”, “reckless decisions” and “policy blunders” responsible for the rising farm distress, unemployment and economic failure.

He said the only tyre that seemed to be inflated was government expenditure.

“But here too, the government’s options are getting limited because of the pressure on the current account deficit (CAD) and the fiscal deficit (FD),” he said.

Chidambaram said the gross NPAs (Non-Performing Assets) had risen in the last four years from Rs 2,63,000 crore to Rs 10,30,000 crore and would rise further.

Responding to the charges on NPA, Javadekar blamed Congress for the NPA crisis.

He said that the government is working seriously on long term solution over the hikes in rates of petrol and diesel prices. (IANS)

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Congress questions Modi government’s silence on ICICI bank ‘fraud’

Jun 4, 2018 0

New Delhi– In view of fresh allegations levelled by a whistleblower against ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar over fraud loans, the Congress on Monday questioned Modi government’s “silence” and “non-interference” on the issue, asking why it didn’t order a probe.

“Instead of oversight, audit, regulations and protection of interests of account holder’s depositors, stakeholders and shareholders, Modi government is busy protecting its crony friends,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told media persons here.

“Why did the government not order a thorough probe when the news reports and whistleblower’s letters to the Prime Minister emerged as early in March this year?

“What explains the complete silence and the declared non-interference of the Modi government in this saga of ICICI Bank frauds?” he asked.

Khera also asked if acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, who himself has been accused of conflict of interest and impropriety, would order an investigation asking every private bank CEP to declare their relationship with any loanee.

Noting that the government itself has admitted that NPAs have risen by 230 per cent – from Rs 2,51,054 crore in March 2014 to Rs 8,31,141 crore in December 2017, he said that lack of oversight and regulatory mechanisms have precipitated into massive bank loot scams worth Rs 61,036 crore and have eroded the trust of the common people in banks.

“The Rs 2,849 crore exposure of the ICICI Bank and the behind the scenes murky deals questions the role of its CEO in one such saga of banking fraud,” he added.

“Media reports and whistleblowers alike have alleged that the ICCI Bank CEO and her family have invested Rs 325 crore in subsidiary of a large consortium – which on record has a loan default and a large NPA.

“After much delay, SEBI has given a show cause notice to the ICICI bank’s CEO and said that it didn’t adhere to its code of conduct, which required the disclosure of any conflict of interest in the case involving Videocon Group and NuPower Renewables, a firm owned by her husband,” he said.

Noting every bank goes through four stages of audit – statutory, internal, and concurrent audits and RBI inspection, he said that despite this, the entire fraud escaped everybody’s attention and sought to know why the audits had not uncovered it. (IANS)

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Tata Motors creates electric mobility vertical

Jun 4, 2018 0

Mumbai– Tata Motors on Monday said that it has created an electric mobility vertical and appointed Shailesh Chandra to lead it in addition to his current responsibility.

According to the company, the creation of the new business vertical will enable Tata Motors to deliver on “its aspiration of providing innovative and competitive e-mobility solutions”.

“Tata Motors is optimistic about the future of electric vehicles and would play a leading role in the electric mobility evolution in the country,” Tata Motors’ Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Guenter Butschek said in a satement.

“We will also leverage on the capabilities of other Tata Group companies to develop the full ecosystem and fast track the adoption of e-mobility.”

As per the statement, Chandra has been promoted as President-Electric Mobility Business and Corporate Strategy with immediate effect and will continue to be a member of the Executive Committee. (IANS)

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PNB fraud: ED charge-sheet names Nirav, 23 others

May 24, 2018 0

Mumbai– The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a charge-sheet against fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi and 23 others, including his father, sister and brother-in-law, in the over Rs 13,400 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

The fraud was committed during 2011-2017 by illegally issuing Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).

The charge-sheet or the prosecution complaint — running in about 12,000 pages — was submitted in a special court in Mumbai naming Nirav Modi, his sister Purvi Mehta, brother-in-law Maiank Mehta, brother Neeshal Modi, relative Nehal Modi, father Deepak Modi and 18 others.

Nirav Modi’s three firms — Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and Diamonds R US — which had fraudulently obtained Rs 6,498 crore through LoUs issued by the Mumbai’s Brady House Branch of PNB were also named in the charge-sheet.

The charge-sheet said the funds so obtained by these firms were partly utilised for payment to various overseas companies and also for offsetting earlier LoUs.

The diamantaire left India with his family around a month before PNB filed its first complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the fraud on February 29.

“It was revealed during investigation that the payments were made to 17 dummy overseas entities in Hong Kong, Dubai and the US since 2011 in the guise of export and import.

“The directors and shareholders in these companies were also dummy and were employed in Nirav’s Firestar group of companies. They were working as per the directions of Nirav and his other trusted officials Shyamsunder Wadhwa, Aditya Nanavati, Mihir Bhansali and Saju Poulose,” the charge-sheet said.

It said the dummy directors were just “mechanically transferring the goods and monies without any economic rationale and logic”.

“Documents, obtained from overseas jurisdictions, prove the diversion and layering of the proceeds of crime.”

“The modus operandi was fraudulent import and export wherein there were no manufacturing activities in any of the dummy overseas companies. The invoices were over valued to a huge extent so as to inflate the balance sheets and procure high credit facilities from the banks.

“The export and import was also not genuine and was just rotational transactions. The jewellery exported from India was dismantled, and diamonds and pearls taken out of it while gold and silver were sent for melting. The melted metal was re-exported to Dubai or India.

“The whole process was carried out without any substantial value addition and was only for inflating the turnover of Indian companies, so as to acquire maximum credit facilities from the banks,” said the chargesheet.

The funds acquired by fraudulent means were siphoned off within the country as well as to the overseas dummy companies owned by Nirav Modi, the charge-sheet said, adding the agency traced diversion of the proceeds of crime to the extent of $629.21 million relating to several group companies.

The charge sheet has detailed the attachments made by the ED against Nirav Modi and his associates in the last few months after it first registered a money laundering case on February 14 based on the CBI’s January 31 FIR. The ED’s move comes days after the CBI filed two separate charge-sheets in the case.

It is expected that the ED would file a second charge-sheet against Nirav Modi’s uncle and jeweller Choksi. (IANS)

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HC crticises Delhi government for free water scheme

May 24, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Delhi High Court on Thursday criticised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government policy of providing 20 kilo litres of free water across the board for domestic use and said “nothing should be given free” unless the poor need it.

“Nothing should be given free to anybody. Charge 10 paise or one paisa. Nothing should be given free, except where people really need it like the poor,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar.

The bench observed that providing free water to people living in the slum clusters could be accepted but not for those who could afford it.

Meanwhile, the state of Haryana government told the court that it had floated tenders for repairing the Delhi Sub Branch Canal (DSBC), which also carries water to the national capital, besides the Munak canal.

The tenders would be opened in June and the work was expected to be completed in four months, the Haryana government said.

The court asked the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to inform on the next date of hearing whether there was any policy to regulate ground water usage, as private companies had been draining the water table of the national capital.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on July 23.

The court was hearing a plea, filed by advocate S.B. Tripathi, who has sought direction for the DJB to provide 100 per cent sewage facility in the entire city and the Central government to provide financial assistance to the DJB for the work.

The plea said that in 2016, the DJB had told the court that only 55 per cent of the Delhi population was covered with sewage facility and there was no sewage facility available to the remaining 45 per cent.

Tripathi has said as 330 cusecs of water was supplied by Haryana through a “kutcha” canal, 50 per cent of water was being lost due to seepage and Delhi got only about 170-180 cusec water per day. (IANS)

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Petrol almost Rs 85 a litre in Mumbai, crosses Rs 80 in Chennai

May 23, 2018 0

New Delhi– The petrol price in India’s financial capital Mumbai touched Rs 84.99 a litre on Wednesday.

Petrol prices in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai have already reached unprecendent levels, and are now setting a new benchmark every other day.

In Chennai, price of the fuel breached the Rs 80 a litre mark on Wednesday and was priced at Rs 80.11 per litre, according to data on the website of Indian Oil Corp.

Similarly, in Delhi the fuel’s price inched higher to a new record of Rs 77.17, and in Kolkata, it cost Rs 79.83, almost a five-year high.

Since the dynamic pricing system was resumed on May 14, prices have increased over Rs 2.50 per litre across all metropolitan cities, leading to demands from various quarters for urgent action by the government to curb the price rise.

Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday criticised the Centre for the fuel price hike and claimed that the rate can be reduced by Rs 25 per litre but the government is not doing it.

“Bonanza to central government is Rs 25 on every litre of petrol. This money rightfully belongs to the average consumer,” he tweeted.

“Central government saves Rs 15 on every litre of petrol due to fall in crude oil prices. It also puts additional tax of Rs 10 on every litre of petrol,” Chidambaram added.

Diesel prices, which have already reached unprecedented levels, set new records across the country. In Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, diesel was sold at Rs 68.34, Rs 70.89, Rs 72.76 and Rs 72.14 per litre, respectively. (IANS)

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PNB scam: ED issues summons to Nirav Modi’s father, sister

May 18, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi’s father Deepak Modi, sister Purvi Mehta and her husband Mayank Mehta as part of its probe in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, an official said here on Friday.

The fraud was committed during 2011-17 by illegally issuing Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).

Deepak, Purvi and Mayank have been asked to appear before the ED investigators at its Mumbai office to record their statements in the case as the agency is in the process of filing chargesheet in a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai, expectedly by the next week.

ED investigators said Nirav Modi’s relatives were summoned in the first week of this month and were given 15 days time to appear before it in the ongoing money laundering probe of over Rs 13,000 crore. The alleged banking fraud was committed by the diamond merchant, his group of companies — Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds — alongwith uncle Mehul Choksi and others.

An ED official said that further notices would be issued to the three in case they fail to respond to the first summons, an ED official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Deepak is reportedly based in Antwerp in Belgium, while Purvi and her husband are settled in Hong Kong. “They were sent the summons through mail,” the official said.

Purvi is under ED’s radar for her alleged role in round-tripping of Nirav Modi’s laundered money via Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) back to India while her husband is suspected of supporting the diamond merchant in similar operations.

The multi-crore fraud was committed in connivance with PNB’s Mumbai Brady House branch officers between 2011-17.

The ED had started money laundering probe against Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal, wife Ami and others, based on the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) FIR lodged on January 31, following PNB’s first complaint against the businessman for allegedly cheating it of Rs 280.70 crore.

ED investigators have claimed to have traced over Rs 5,000 crore assets of Nirav Modi so far. The official said that the crores said to have been sent as FDI transactions from Singapore-based firm Islington International Pte Ltd, whose beneficiary owner is stated to be Purvi’s husband, are doubtful in nature.

The ED investigations is also based on Income Tax department’s February report to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Union Finance Ministry against Nirav Modi and his uncle Choksi in which it is reportedly mentioned that nearly Rs 4,900 crore transactions were unexplained. (IANS)

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‘India only imported sugar worth $4.68 mn from Pakistan during 2017-18’

May 16, 2018 0

New Delhi– The central government on Wednesday clarified that the country had only imported 13,110 metric tonnes (MT) of sugar worth $4.68 million from Pakistan during 2017-18.

The clarification came after some reports indicated that large quantities of sugar had been imported from Pakistan.

“It has been observed that there have been some misinformed news reports appearing in the media about import of sugar from Pakistan,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

According to the statement, till May 14, 2018, India imported 1,908 MT of sugar worth $0.657 million from Pakistan.

“We must see this import in the overall context that total annual sugar production of India is about 31.90 million MT in sugar season 2017-18,” the statement said.

“Further, India exported 1.75 million MT in 2017-18. During April-May 2018, the total export of sugar has been 240,093 MT. Thus import from Pakistan has been very miniscule as compared to total production in the country and exports from India. Further, it has been reported that Pakistan government has provided cash freight subsidy of Rs 10.7 per kg on sugar.”

In terms of value, in 2016-17, the country imported sugar worth $1,019 million, this declined to $934 million in 2017-18.

Besides, the ministry disclosed that quantity-wise, in 2016-17, total import of sugar was 2.14 million MT and that it marginally increased to 2.40 million MT in 2017-18.

India mostly imports sugar from Brazil. Currently, import of sugar “is free with a customs duty of 100 per cent”. (IANS)


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