2G case: Court takes cognizance of charge-sheet against Essar, Loop

The CBI in its charge-sheet filed on 12th December has accused the Essar and Loop promoters of conspiring to cheat the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) but has not found evidence to prosecute theme under the Prevention of Corruption Act

New Delhi: Essar group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia along with five others were today issued summons by a Delhi court which took cognizance of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) charge-sheet arising out of investigation in the second generation (2G) scam case, reports PTI.

Special judge OP Saini also issued summons to Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband IP Khaitan and Essar Group director (strategy and planning) Vikas Saraf and three companies—Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India and Essar Tele Holding—named as accused in the third charge-sheet.

They have been asked to appear before the court on 27 January 2012.

The CBI in its charge-sheet filed on 12th December has accused the Essar and Loop promoters of conspiring to cheat the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) but has not found evidence to prosecute theme under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

It said “investigation has not revealed evidence to prove mala-fide on the part of public servants in the matter.”

The Essar Group, in a statement, had denied any involvement in the 2G scam and said it has complied with in totality with all conditions of telecom licences. It claimed that the CBI has confirmed that Essar was not involved in the 2G scam.

The CBI has said the accused persons and companies created a “complex corporate veil” to cheat DoT by concealing that Essar, an existing telecom operator having substantial shares in Vodafone (then Hutch), was having more than 10 per cent stake in Loop Telecom.

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India’s GDP growth rate to slip below 7%: Moody’s

Moody’s has also unified the Government of India’s local and foreign currency bond ratings at ‘Baa3’, indicating investment grade. The guidance was based on an analysis of sovereign defaults in the last two decades, which does not offer empirical justification for a ratings bias in favour of either local currency or foreign currency government debt, it said

New Delhi: Global credit ratings agency Moody’s today said policy paralysis coupled with global uncertainty is expected to pull down India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate below 7% in the current fiscal from 8.5% a year ago, reports PTI.

“In the last few months, tight monetary conditions and a cloudy global outlook have combined to reduce manufacturing output and investment initiatives.

“We expect growth to fall below 7% in 2011-12 from 8.5% in 2010-11 due to the impact of an uncertain global funding environment, high domestic interest rates and the apparent lack of policy initiatives that can revive business confidence,” Moody’s said in a report.

While a growth rate between 6% and 7% this year would be lower than India’s 8.5% average over the last five years, it would still be higher than the median for ‘Baa3’ rated countries, it said.

The cyclical dip could reverse some time in 2012-13 as inflation cools from current 9% levels, allowing for a gradual reversal of 2011’s tight monetary policy stance, it said.

“Our expectation is that supported by current levels of savings and investment, growth will revive over the medium-term, thanks to continued productivity enhancements in the private sector, increased infrastructure investment boosting potential output, policies to alleviate poverty and income inequality that will support domestic demand growth and demographic trends raising the working age population while keeping the dependency ratio low,” it said.

As per the latest official estimate, the country’s economy is expected to expand by 7.5% in 2011-12.

Meanwhile, Moody’s has unified the Government of India’s local and foreign currency bond ratings at ‘Baa3’, indicating investment grade.

The outlook on the rating is stable, Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement.

The guidance was based on an analysis of sovereign defaults in the last two decades, which does not offer empirical justification for a ratings bias in favour of either local currency or foreign currency government debt, it said.

The stable outlook on India’s rating reflects Moody’s medium-term assessment of the country’s growth, fiscal and balance of payments outlook relative to other countries it rates, it said.

It also said there seems to be no impact on the debt rating of 16 Indian financial institutions and some large state-owned companies following its action to unify the sovereign’s local currency and foreign currency government bond ratings at ‘Baa3/P-3’ with a stable outlook.

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Varkaris urge Maharashtra CM to stop loot at toll booths

In a memorandum, the Varkari Sampraday, Grahak Panchayat and Krantivir Prathisthan among others, alleged under reporting, especially of vehicle traffic and toll collected so far, by the toll collection agencies across the state

Commuters, farmers and Varkaris (devotees who make walking pilgrimages) had appealed the Maharashtra chief minister (CM) to take immediate and corrective steps to stop the rampant looting done under the guise of toll collection on various roads across the state. In a memorandum, the Varkari Sampraday, Grahak Panchayat and Krantivir Prathisthan among others, alleged under reporting, especially of vehicle traffic and toll collected so far, by the toll collection agencies across Maharashtra.

The memorandum says that as per information provided by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), during 2000 to 2011, contractors for the toll collection have already recovered the cost for 39 toll booths and the percentage of toll collection to cost is around 243.4%. On an average, the ratio for toll collected so far comes is in the range of 150% and 600% for each toll booth in just in four to seven years and according to the tender documents, the contractors will continue to collect the toll tax for another 14 to 22 years.

On Monday, Maharashtra PWD minister Jaydutt Kshirsagar informed the state assembly that even though the government had recovered Rs1,205 crore out of the Rs1,242 crore it spent on building flyovers and bridges in Mumbai, citizens would have to pay toll tax at the entry and exit points of the metro till September 2027. Similarly, for the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which was built at a cost of Rs2,123 crore by the MSRDC, contractors have recovered Rs1,095 so far and will continue to collect toll tax till 30 April 2030, the minister informed the assembly.

The minister was replying to allegations from the opposition parties about the massive corruption in toll collection at roads in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts. Eknath Khadse (BJP), leader of opposition, said the corruption figure could be pegged at around Rs10,000 crore and demanded a probe by a high-power committee.
 
According to the memorandum sent by the Varkari Sampraday, Grahak Panchayat and Krantivir Prathisthan, majority of the toll booths in Maharashtra are in bad condition and are without any sign boards, complaint book and at many places a computerised receipt is issued without mentioning the amount.

Incidentally, all toll booths in Maharashtra have unanimously hiked the toll rates through a notification issued on 17 March 2011, however, the toll collection period remained same. In addition, the contractors are often found to follow government guidelines, especially for returning vehicles. According to the guidelines, the contractor is bound to give 50% concession in toll tax to a vehicle that is returning to the same booth within 24 hours. However, all contractors make 12 midnight as the deadline for the mandated 24-hour period. Therefore a vehicle, which may enter to toll booth at 10pm and return at 1am the same night, is denied the concession by all contractors.

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COMMENTS

p k

5 years ago

i am shocked at the toll colected at satara road..it was rs 45 at Khed shivapur, now made rs 65/-!!

also further near \kolhapur one has to pay 2 times rs 58/-!! distance between the toll booth is less than 50 km. i do not understand the logic. cost of toll is equivalent to one person bus ticket.

it is daylight robbery.
for pune mumbai , there is no return toll ie one has to pay the toll 2 times.

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