The CBI plea said besides Mr Raja and two former officials, all others, including DMK Member of Parliament Ms Kanimozhi and three telecom firms should be charged under section 409 (criminal breach) read with 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Monday moved a designated special court for slapping the fresh charge of breach of trust by public servants against former telecom minister A Raja and two others in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case, reports PTI.
Special public prosecutor UU Lalit filed an application before special CBI Judge OP Saini, saying a case of criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code is "certainly made out" against Mr Raja, his former private secretary RK Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura.
The CBI plea said besides Mr Raja and two former officials, all others, including DMK Member of Parliament Ms Kanimozhi and three telecom firms should be charged under section 409 (criminal breach) read with 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
"It is submitted that accused 1, 2, and 3 (Mr Raja, Mr Behura and Mr Chandolia) were public servants having a dominion over valuable 2G spectrum in their respective capacities as public servants," said the CBI application.
"The said accused public servants in pursuance of conspiracy with other accused dishonestly disposed of the valuable 2G spectrum illegally and in violation of the existing policies and the eligibility criterion in order to confer wrongful gain on accused no. 4 (Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa), 5 (Vinod Goenka), 6 (Swan Telecom), 7 (MD of Unitech Sanjay Chandra) and 8 (Unitech Wireless Tamil Nadu)," the CBI told the court.
"Thus, accused Mr Raja, Mr Behura and Mr Chandolia have committed an offence punishable under section 409 Indian penal Code and all other accused have committed an offence punishable under section 409 read with section 120 B IPC. With the cognisance of this court (they) should be charged accordingly," the application said.
The CBI, in its plea, prayed that "a case of framing of charge under section 409 IPC is certainly made out.
"It is humbly prayed that a charge under section 409 IPC be framed against accused Mr Raja, Mr Behura and Mr Chandolia and charge under section 409 read with 120 B IPC framed against all other accused in addition to the charges already mentioned in the charge sheets filed before this court," the agency said.
Section 409 IPC carries a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 10 years.
The CBI, in its two charge-sheets against the accused, have booked them for the offences punishable under section 120B, 420, 468 and 471 IPC besides various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The defence counsel, however, opposed the CBI's plea saying, "They just want to delay the proceedings of framing of charges against the accused."
Special public prosecutor Mr Lalit submitted the application to the court for slapping fresh charges against 2G scam accused while arguing on a law ministry report which said a firm should have more than 10% stakes in another for being termed its associate, a plea taken by 2G scam accused Reliance Telecom and Swan Telecom.
Law secretary DR Meena, in his report to the Department of Telecom (DoT), had said the term 'associate' could be determined only by applying the 'share-holding' test between telecom firms.
India is a tax haven for the rich as they do not have to pay any tax on their dividend income. But the middle-class citizen has tax deducted at source even on the paltry interest received from savings bank accounts
President Obama of the United States is proposing to levy a tax on people earning over $1 million a year, calling it the "Buffett Rule" as a part of his long-term deficit-reduction programme and to stem the country's escalating national debt.
The "Buffett Rule" is nicknamed after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, because he is said to have made a statement that rich people like him in the US often pay less in tax than those who work for them, due to loopholes in the tax provisions. The present proposal, therefore, is designed to prevent millionaires from taking advantage of lower tax rates on investment earnings than what middle-income taxpayers pay on their wages.
During last year, Warren Buffett's total income was $46 million and his average tax rate was 17.7%, due to his investment income being charged at 15%. His secretary's income was $60,000 on which average tax rate was 30%.
If in the US, the rich are paying a lower tax on their investment income, India is a tax haven for the rich as they do not have to pay any tax on their investment income, because the dividend income is totally tax-free at the hands of the shareholders. As per media repots, the aggregate dividend earned by business houses last year was Rs48,191 crore on which no tax was required to be paid. The Tata Group dominated the business houses on this count and its 29 group companies together paid Rs3,845 crore as dividend to the holding company, on which the holding company did not have to pay any tax.
Here is a list of the top ten individuals whose dividend income runs into crores of rupees, totally tax-free under the existing laws in India.
It is ironical that a common man in India has to pay income-tax even on the paltry amount of interest that he receives on his savings bank account, if his total income crosses the basic exemption limit of Rs1,60,000 per year. And if he places his surplus savings in fixed deposits with commercial banks, the income-tax gets deducted at source from the interest received on these deposits, even before he receives any interest from the bank. On 8th August, Moneylife had written on the agony and suffering undergone by the common man to get TDS (tax deduction at source) certificates from banks and the harassment meted out to him by the tax authorities to get refund of such TDS (See: TDS is not only tedious, it is sheer harassment. Government must make interest from banks free from income-tax).
The paradox of life in India can be best explained by the following examples:
1. The rich and the wealthy do no pay any tax on crores of their investment income, but the poor and the middle class have to pay taxes even on a small amount of interest received from banks on their savings account and fixed deposits.
2. The tax provisions make a distinction between 'earned' income and 'unearned' income. The unearned income on stock market investments including capital gains is either tax-free or taxed at a lower rate. But the common man who earns through his sweat and toil has to pay tax at 30% because it is considered as earned income.
3. The common man has to pay Rs70 per litre for petrol used for running his two-wheelers and small cars, which are run only on petrol, while the rich pay only Rs40 per litre for diesel used by them on their Mercedes vehicles and BMWs, the big luxury cars which run on diesel.
4. While the banks offer car loans to the rich & wealthy at interest rates varying from 10% to 12% p.a., poor students are offered education loans at rates varying from 14% to 16%.
5. As the saying goes, if you borrow a small amount from a bank, you are at the mercy of the bank and if you borrow a few crores from the bank, the bank is at your mercy. This is in fact a reality, because small borrowers are hounded and persecuted if they fail to repay, but large borrowers are given five-star treatment like CDR (Corporate Debt Structuring) facility, moratorium on payment of interest and instalments and of course, lower interest rates including waiver of penal interest charged etc.
6. If big companies are unable to honour their commitments and become virtually bankrupt, technically called 'sick', they are given all the benefits of a five-star hospital and admitted to what is called the BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction). Once admitted to BIFR, no creditor can file a suit for recovery, nor can banks proceed against them. Because of this luxury of protection from creditors, companies feel comfortable to continue to remain sick indefinitely, though the promoters of many such companies continue to be healthy and flaunt their wealth in unproductive activities. But this facility of protection from the creditors is not available to common people who have their own small businesses, and they have to face the wrath of the banks and other creditors, even if they are genuinely in trouble due to external circumstances.
The common man and the ordinary middle-class citizen of our country is suffering under the burden of rising inflation and due to the apathy of the banks and government institutions, and they have nobody to champion their cause.
It is, therefore, to support their cause and improve their life to some extent, that the Moneylife Foundation (article dated 6th September, see: Moneylife Foundation sends memorandum on TDS to the FM, RBI ) submitted a memorandum to the Hon'ble Finance Minister, requesting him to exempt from tax, all interest paid by commercial banks on savings accounts and fixed deposits—which if conceded, will provide some succour to a large number of middle-class people of our country.
Let us hope that the FM listens to our appeal and provides the
much-needed relief to the people of this country by enacting necessary modifications to the tax laws in the Finance Bill or the Direct Tax Code (DTC) coming up during the current financial year.
(The author is a financial consultant and he writes for Moneylife under the pen name, 'Gurpur')
The two sides have agreed to stay committed to deepening bilateral investment co-operation, further opening markets and improving the investment environment in both countries to lay a solid foundation for pragmatic co-operation between the businesses of the two countries
Beijing: Holding their first comprehensive Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) here today, India and China have reached an understanding to deepen bilateral investment cooperation, further open up markets to each other and improve the investment environment, reports PTI.
High-level delegations led by India's Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and China's National Development and Reform Commission chairman Zhang Ping had a very positive and successful dialogue on stepping up cooperation and coordination on a host of economic issues, Indian officials said.
The two sides have agreed to stay committed to deepening bilateral investment co-operation, further opening markets and improving the investment environment in both countries to lay a solid foundation for pragmatic co-operation between the businesses of the two countries on the basis of complementarities, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, minutes circulated at the end of first session said.
The two sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation on energy efficiency and conservation, as well as on environmental protection.
Both sides agreed to actively foster co-operation on energy, including the renewable energy sector, in order to promote sustainable development.
Enhanced exchanges in these spheres would be the new engine for greater co-operation between the two sides, the minutes said.
In his opening address, Mr Ahluwalia said India and China share many commonalities.
"China's economic reforms began a decade and more before those of India. Your achievements in transforming your economy are well recognised all over the world. We in India are deeply impressed by your progress and we believe there are many lessons from your experience that may be valuable to us," Mr Ahluwalia said.
He noted that both countries had Five Year plans for their development strategy.
"You have unveiled your Twelfth Plan and we are going to finalise our Twelfth Plan in 2012," he said.
"Challenges like energy efficiency, water pricing, management of urbanisation and rapid modernisation of infrastructure are common to us also," he said and proposed that the first goal of the SED should be a continuous exchange of economic experiences on all critical sectors from which both nations can benefit.
In his address, Mr Zhang said as the world's economic and political landscape is undergoing 'profound changes', India and China as developing countries are faced with rare and historical development opportunities.
"Since we are at the important stages of acceleration of industrialisation and urbanisation, our two countries are faced with similar or even identical problems in the course of development," he said.
He hoped that the SED will enhance mutual understanding and trust between India and China by drawing upon each other's strengths and experiences in economic development to seek mutually beneficial co-operation
"By doing so, we will enhance our practical co-operation in various fields and find solutions to our common problems.
This will help promote long-term and steady development of our respective economies and have a profound impact on our two countries," Mr Zhang said.