2G case: HC reserves order on bail petitions by Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar

Lawyer for the DMK member of parliament and Kalaignar TV managing director says Rs200 crore payment from DB Realty was a valid loan transaction and there was nothing dubious about it

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on the bail pleas by DMK member of parliament Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar in the 2G licences and spectrum allocation case.

Judge Ajit Bharihoke, after hearing detailed arguments on the bail applications of the accused, said the order on their pleas would be pronounced later, PTI reports.

Senior advocate Altaf Ahmed, appearing for the 43-year-old Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar, contended that the transaction of Rs200 crore from the DB Group to Kalaignar TV was a valid loan transaction and that there was nothing "dubious" about it. "All the documents are in the custody of the CBI and hence there is no point in keeping us in jail," he said.

Senior advocate and special public prosecutor UU Lalit opposed their bail pleas saying that the accused have attempted to create a "smoke screen" by projecting the bribe trail of Rs200 crore as a loan transaction. "No contemporaneous documents were executed by any of the companies which were part of the money transaction. It was nothing but the transaction of the bribe amount," Mr Lalit said.

The court had earlier issued a notice to the CBI on the bail pleas of both the accused and asked the investigative agency to file a status report detailing the stage of investigation and the judicial proceedings in the case.

Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar had approached the high court on 23rd May after their bail applications were dismissed by a special CBI court on 20th May.


CAG insists it acted within its mandate on 2G spectrum issue

Audit chief faces questions by JPC over presumptive loss estimate of Rs1.76 lakh crore over unfair allocation of licences, spectrum

New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) today faced some tough questioning at a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the presumptive loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer which it had estimated in the 2G spectrum allocation, with some members questioning its mandate to look into policy decisions to arrive at the figure.

Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, who briefed the JPC on the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum during the period 1998 to 2009, maintained that the auditor acted within its constitutional mandate, PTI reports.

During the meeting of the Committee, some members pointed out that the Telecom Rregulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had taken a "definite decision" that spectrum 800-900-1800 Mhz bands should not be auctioned.

"That being a decision of the TRAI and that being a policy decision, how come the CAG has come to the notional loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore...policy is not a matter that is a subject matter of audit. It is a government decision," JPC chairman PC Chacko told journalists, while informing them about the proceedings.

He said some members wanted to know whether the CAG had taken into account the policy prescription of the government before arriving at the figure of presumptive loss.

When asked about the reaction of the CAG on the issue, Mr Chacko said Mr Rai maintained that the government auditor acted "within mandate" while looking into the 2G spectrum allocation issue.

Sources said that during the three-and-a-half-hour long meeting, Congress member Manish Tewari sought to know the constitutional mandate of the CAG in looking into the policy decisions of the government. To this, Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) said that besides following the mandate, the CAG also follows certain conventions.


Hindalco FY11 net dips 37% to Rs 2,456 cr

Aditya Birla flagship company records highest-ever sales, but profit cut by high commodities costs

New Delhi: Hindalco Industries today reported a 37.4% dip in consolidated net profit for FY11 at Rs2,456 crore, primarily on increased expenses for raw materials and a higher interest outgo. The Aditya Birla Group flagship company registered a net profit of Rs3,925 crore in 2009-10.

Cost of raw materials for the company, which produces aluminium and copper, rose to Rs47,416 crore in FY11 from Rs38,100 crore in the previous year, PTI reports.

The Hindalco stock dropped more than 2% to Rs192.90 in trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange, as the benchmark Sensex ended 0.19% lower.

"Interest expenses increased from Rs1,104 crore to Rs1,839 crore mainly due to a one-time debt issuance cost related to the refinancing of $4.8 billion at Novelis in December 2010, and consequent higher interest in Q4," the company said.

Net sales, however, rose by 19% to Rs72,078 crore, its highest-ever, compared with Rs60,708 crore in the previous fiscal, on increased volumes and improved prices.

The company's aluminium business recorded a 17% increase, contributing Rs56,084 crore to net sales. The copper business accounted for Rs15,887 crore, up by 26% over the previous fiscal.


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