2G case: Kanimozhi pleads for bail

Senior advocate Altaf Ahmed told special CBI judge OP Saini that as per the 22nd June order of the apex court, both Ms Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar could approach the special court seeking bail after framing of charges

New Delhi: Two days after charges were framed against her in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam, DMK MP Kanimozhi today moved a fresh plea for bail in a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, reports PTI.

The 43-year-old DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter, who has been in jail for the last five months since her arrest on 20th May, said charges against her have now been framed and as per the order of the Supreme Court, she can approach the special court afresh for bail.

Senior advocate Altaf Ahmed told special CBI judge OP Saini that as per the 22nd June order of the apex court, both Ms Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar could approach the special court seeking bail after framing of charges.

“As per the Supreme Court order on 22nd June in the case of Ms Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, liberty was given to them to file fresh application for bail before the special court after framing of charges,” Mr Ahmed said.

The counsel said as a result of this it is now a fit case for bail.

She had earlier also pleaded for bail but was refused by the trial court, Delhi High Court as well as the Supreme Court.

The apex court, while rejecting her bail, had said that she could move afresh for the bail after charges are framed against her and other accused in the 2G scam.

Invoking the special provision of bail to woman accused, the counsel said being a woman Ms Kanimozhi should be released on bail.

Pressing for bail Mr Ahmed submitted that court could impose any condition to ensure that Ms Kanimozhi does not flee from justice and remain present before the court as and when required.

He said the accused should be released on bail as the trial in the case will take time since it involves 154 witnesses, 17 accused and 790 documents running into more than one lakh pages.

Besides Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd—Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal, former telecom minister A Raja’s ex-private secretary RK Chandolia and Bollywood producer Karim Morani, have also sought bail.

Ms Kanimozhi, along with other 16 accused including Mr Raja, has been charged for offences under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) 468 and 471 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 or in alternative Section 11 read with Section 12 and 13(2) read with 13 (1b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The charge of criminal breach of trust carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.


Diwali purchases: Here’s a dream wish-list with items that will last forever

For this Diwali, look beyond pressure cookers, frying pans and 3D TVs. Here is a list of items that’ll last you a lifetime—and these gifts to yourself will keep on giving

Give or take a few, it must have been about 40-45 years ago or so, but the big Diwali gift I received was a new badminton racquet. With something called “nylon guts”, a huge improvement on the previous racket, which had strings made out of natural guts made presumably from the innards of some unfortunate animal.

The old racquet, well and truly retired, was discovered in an even older trunk a few weeks ago. On a whim and a fancy, I took it to a particular shop beyond Ballimaran in Old Delhi run by a man who knew about these things, and asked him to estimate a price on the racket.

Never mind what the racket was valued at—way beyond what I thought it would fetch—but it was the trunk it came out of, a photo of which I happened to have in my camera, that excited him even more.

Because it also contained old magazines and books wrapped in pieces of lace long forgotten, and other stuff, knickknacks collected over decades, yes, but also because the trunk itself now had a value way beyond the metal, wood and rubber it was made of. When I traced its provenance, another surprise—pretty much everything, including the trunk, was from Diwali shopping decades ago.

And everything, including the stainless steel vessels in the kitchen, more Diwali shopping from an era gone past, had pretty much also appreciated.

Fast forward to what appears to be Diwali shopping nowadays, and if you take precious metals aside for the purpose of this article, think about one purchase you make which will not be consumed or depreciate by at least 30% the moment you pay for it... And keep dropping in value steadily thereafter, in many cases reaching a nil residual value in a couple of years?

Matter of fact, the louder and brighter the advertisement, the faster the drop.

So here’s my list of a few items you could purchase for Diwali, not as heavily advertised, but essential to keep in perspective. Diwali is not about throwing money away, it is about welcoming wealth in its many forms, so it doesn’t have to be about blowing up. Hopefully, these are the sort of purchases which will bring you joy, as well as appreciate too.

1) Stainless steel utensils, of all sorts, picked up from any of the traditional utensil shops pretty much top the list. Once you’ve resumed eating out of stainless steel plates, you will give up on using plastic for sure, and may even give ‘China’ glass a pass. Of course, if you can go for silver utensils, then the appreciation and taste are both likely to feel even better.

2) A well-selected painting, or other piece of art, bought after hard negotiations, based not just on the artist’s provenance but also on what you like to see in your home or office. Looked after well, this is almost sure to appreciate eventually, and if you are really so worried about maintaining it, then that is not such a chore anymore.

3) Presenting yourself with a skill-set going extinct. Like maintaining old paintings, for example, since you are building your own collection anyway. It is only when you start looking around for people to maintain your valuable paintings that you realise how much they earn. Almost as much as people who maintain old Ferraris, for example.

4) This takes care, because there is a lot of garbage floating around also, but a good vintage car is a Diwali gift of the sort which will appreciate faster than any other set of wheels. At a modest estimate, you can expect notional prices to double every couple of years, though the joy of owning one often comes in the way.

5) Fractional ownership of commercial property is a new one lately, in an organised way, and still needs very careful thought. This could be a very small share, running into thousands, or much bigger, running into crores, and by a variety of means. Warning—this is a very speculative product, and currently also full of scamsters, so great caution is advised. The time-share property industry gave a bad name to this concept but it may well be time to start looking at the fine print again.

6) Replenish existing equity by adding to the portfolio you already hold or move into equity in a steady way as a mid- to long-term investment. Here it may be important to point out that specific selection of which equity to hold would be based on your own judgement—but spare funds around the festival season or any other time can be moved into this option as a very valid investment.

7) Look around your home and check out expenses being incurred on energy costs, use existing tools on the Internet or elsewhere, or simply commonsense, to see what you can do to reduce these operational costs. The choices are growing by leaps and bounds every day—and prices are flattening out for options like LED (light-emitting diode) lights, double-glazed glass,
motion-sensing switches, solar panels for photo-thermal and photovoltaic applications, and even simple things like ceiling fans.

8) Investments in plants for home, roof or balcony gardens also tend to pay for themselves within two seasons, especially if you take time out to grow selected herbs and spices, which you would buy at high costs otherwise. A lot here depends obviously on the kind of space you have, but in the coming years of high food costs, this is another skill-set which will help survival—if not make you wealthy.

9) Mostly, anything made out of aluminium tends to hold or increase in value— things like stepladders, prams, small carts for moving things around. They are also very helpful for a variety of ‘Do It Yourself’ jobs, increasingly required in and around home, and when they go out of order eventually, scrap value appreciates like with other metals.

10) And finally, any investment made in terms of looking after your health, physical and mental, has an almost immediate payoff. So whether it is heading for that grinding-mill to buy fresh ground cereals, or changing to unpolished rice, throwing out all those sweetened coloured waters and replacing them with natural options, moving to a higher floor for cleaner air, seeking out non-toxic fresh vegetables and non-vegetarian products, discovering the traditional bakery in your part of town which still uses good old pure ingredients—that’s
about the best you can look for in terms of investment.

If you have any other ideas, we at Moneylife would love to hear about
them, and meanwhile, wish you a Happy Diwali and happy appreciation of
your assets. It’s the season, sure, but it’s about welcoming the Goddess of Wealth—not frittering her treasures away.


Etisalat to contest charges against Indian unit in 2G case

According to Etisalat, in so far as it has been able to investigate the position, it has not established any basis for the charges levied against Etisalat DB and it expects the company to defend the charges resolutely

Dubai: UAE’s telecom giant Etisalat has said that its Indian affiliate Etisalat DB (EDB) would contest charges filed against it by the authorities relating to the allocation of second generation (2G) licence in January 2008, reports PTI.

“Etisalat would like to inform you that on 22 October 2011, charges were framed against Swan Telecom, in which Etisalat holds 44.7%, and 16 other parties, by the court of special judge (CBI) in relation to the allocation of 2G licences which transpired in January 2008,” Etisalat’s acting group chief financial officer Oussama El Rifai, said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse.

The company said that the charges relate to events that occurred at least one year prior to Etisalat’s investment in Swan (subsequently renamed EDB).

It added that Etisalat had no knowledge of any wrongdoing in the licence application process for Swan and had no involvement in it.

It further said that the licence applications were entirely conducted by the promoters of Swan Telecom who subsequently marketed the Swan investment opportunity to Etisalat through a well-known international investment bank.

The company also said it will continue to assist the Indian authorities in any way that it can.

“The due diligence that Etisalat and its advisers—including leading International and Indian accounting, tax and legal advisors—conducted did not reveal any wrong-doing or grounds for concern.

“The customary representations and warranties were made by the vendors of Swan that the licenses were issued in accordance with the laws and regulations of India,” it said.

According to Etisalat, in so far as it has been able to investigate the position, it has not established any basis for the charges levied against EDB and it expects EDB to defend the charges resolutely.

“Etisalat will, of course, look to its remedies against third parties at the appropriate time in order to protect its investment and rights,” it added.


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