2G scam: CBI questions close aides of Kanimozhi

In another development, the telecom ministry has said that only 15 new licences are liable for cancellation due to delayed roll out of network compared to 69 recommended by the TRAI and has thus sought regulator's views on the same

New Delhi: Tightening the noose around DMK leader Ms Kanimozhi in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam, the CBI on Monday questioned a Malaysia-based NRI and a chartered accountant-considered close to former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi's family-just days ahead of an expected decision on her bail application, reports PTI.

Malaysia-based Mr Sarvanan and chartered accountant Mr Ratnam were questioned for nearly six hours by the officials about the deal related to a plot of land in Chennai which was estimated to be worth Rs200 crore but was sold at Rs25 crore to a business man from Malaysia, agency sources said.

They claimed Mr Sarvanan was a key player in the deal of the 53,000 square feet plot located on the Anna Malai road in Chennai which was taken on lease by a big industrial house for nearly 30 years till 2005. The industrial house has filed a suit in the Madras High Court for renewing the lease.

Mr Sarvanan allegedly managed to get the power of attorney for the plot from the owners and sold it to a private company at Rs25 crore in 2009, days before the general elections.

The agency is probing whether the land deal at one-eighth the estimated market price through Mr Sarvanan, who has interests in real-estate business, was a way to camouflage the alleged bribe money from spectrum allocation to telecom firms, the sources said.

The bail applications of DMK MP and former Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi's daughter Ms Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, named as accused in the CBI charge-sheet, are pending before a special CBI court here which is likely to pronounce its decision on 20th May.

The court has to decide the fate of Mr Kanimozhi who has been accused of taking Rs200 crore bribe for Kalaignar TV from Shahid Usman Balwa's firm DB Realty.

The CBI has accused her of conspiring with former Union telecom minister A Raja. She has also been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act for taking bribe through Kalaignar TV-a channel run by the DMK-in which the bribe of the 2G scam was routed.

Meanwhile, the telecom ministry has said that only 15 new licences are liable for cancellation due to delayed roll out of network compared to 69 recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and has thus sought regulator's views on the same.

Earlier, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had identified 17 cases fit for sending notices for cancellation of licences on account of delay in network rollout. Last year, TRAI had had recommended to the DoT to cancel 69 telecom licences of five operators, including joint ventures of Telenor-Unitech, Etisalat-Swan and Sistema-Shyam.

The cancellations pertain to licences issued in 2007-08 by former telecom minister A Raja, who was sacked last year when his ministry was accused of selling licences and spectrum cheaply, possibly costing the government billions of dollars in revenue.

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New index for measuring industrial output approved

The IIP for April would be based on the new model of measuring the country's factory output. The index will include items like ice cream, fruit juices, mobile phones, computer stationary, newspapers, chemicals like ammonia, ammonia sulphate, electrical products like solder power systems, gems and jewellery and molasses

New Delhi: Production trend in 100 new items, including ice cream, fruit juices and mobile phones will weigh on measuring the pace of industrial production, as per the new index series approved by the government, reports PTI.

The new Index of Industrial Production which will come into effect from 10th June, with the base year 2004-05, has been approved by the Committee of Secretaries (CoS), an official said.

The new items in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) would also include computer stationary, newspapers, chemicals like ammonia, ammonia sulphate, electrical products like solder power systems, gems and jewellery and molasses.

On the other hand, obsolete articles like typewriters, loud speakers and VCRs would be taken off to make the series representative of the present-day industrial production and demand scenario.

The base year for the new series will be changed to 2004-05 from 1993-94.

The IIP for April would be based on the new model of measuring the country's factory output. The April data would be released on 10th June.

The new IIP series will help policymakers and market participants, the official added.

The Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP) and the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) were jointly working on the new index. Currently the IIP basket has 283 items.

The industrial output data or IIP is released on monthly basis.

The factory output grew by 7.8% in the fiscal 2010-11.

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Bank of India: Soft & gentle

The new Bank of India TV ads are gentle, earthy and made realistically. They entertainingly bring out the struggles of modern life and this helps make the brand fit happen endearingly

I watched the new Bank of India TV campaign with a degree of circumspection. Public sector advertising has traditionally been safe and cliché ridden in India. But must say I was left pleasantly surprised… it's actually quite a nice campaign. Indeed, it's good to see sarkaari banks wake up to the need for solid advertising in these highly cluttered times.



There are three commercials on air. Each one sells a different kind of loan. One deals with home loans. This one features a dude flirting with and chasing a shy girl on the city streets. She seems to like him, but is worried that onlookers will take notice. We assume they are lovers. Or that something nefarious is at play out here, what with the chap unwilling to quit his flirty behaviour. Anyway, they reach the girl's home, and he follows her there too. And we discover they are married, and have reached their own home. But since it's a joint family, the couple has no option but to romance on the streets. Enter Bank of India Home Loans.



In another commercial, two young execs are seen sipping tea at a roadside chai shop. They are unhappy at their workplace, and want a loan to start their own venture. One very pissed off exec screams at the chai boy for serving him rubbish tea, and the two walk off in a huff. Meanwhile, the tea boys get together and complain about the same thing-that they should start their own business, instead of putting up with crabby customers every day. Enter Bank of India biz (SME) loans. The car loans ad is only slightly weaker. In this one, a man is unable to take his entire family out for a movie on his scooter, so half of them are compelled to travel by a rickshaw.

I quite like this work. The ads are gentle, they are earthy, they are made realistically… a reflection of urban Indian middle class life. Without demeaning people's dreary existence, without any hard sell, they entertainingly bring out the struggles of modern life, and this helps make the brand fit happen endearingly. Suddenly, you want to meet up with the Bank of India guys. How charming their staffers will turn out to be, is another story, of course.

A very good example of how advertising can help consumers connect with and feel affectionate to a brand. More importantly, a good example of how to sell without upsetting TV viewers with noise, tall claims and condescending celebrities.

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