2G scam: Swamy deposes as witness, seeks Chidambaram’s prosecution

Testifying as a witness in support of his private complaint seeking prosecution of home minister P Chidambaram, Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy said former telecom minister A Raja could not be held guilty ‘alone’ of the charges that he fixed the price of spectrum licence in 2008 at the prevailing rates of 2001

New Delhi: Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy told a Delhi court on Saturday that Union home minister P Chidambaram should be made an accused in the second generation (2G) case as he had jointly taken the decision of spectrum prices with former telecom minister A Raja, the key accused in the case, reports PTI.

Testifying as a witness in support of his private complaint seeking prosecution of Mr Chidambaram, Mr Swamy said Mr Raja could not be held guilty ‘alone’ of the charges that he fixed the price of spectrum licence in 2008 at the prevailing rates of 2001.

“Raja could not be guilty of this (fixing the rate of spectrum charges at nominal price fixed in 2001) charge alone but he committed this offence with the active connivance of P Chidambaram,” Mr Swamy told special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) judge OP Saini.

He said that as per a 2003 cabinet decision, Mr Raja and Mr Chidambaram, who was the then Finance Minister, were empowered to determine the spectrum price jointly.

Mr Swamy said that the prime minister, in his statement made on the floor of Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) on 24 February 2011, had said that pricing of spectrum was taken on the basis of a cabinet decision of 2003 which specifically said that the issue would be determined by the ministry of finance and department of telecommunication.

The court had on 8th December allowed Mr Swamy to testify himself in support of his private complaint seeking Mr Chidambaram’s prosecution in the case.

The special judge had allowed Mr Swamy’s plea, saying that in view of his knowledge of “fresh evidence” on the identity of other conspirators, he be allowed to depose again in the case.

It had said Mr Swamy “was not prevented in law” from bringing fresh evidence about the roles of “other conspirators” in the scam.

The court deferred recording Mr Swamy’s further statement till 7th January, the next date of hearing.

The court had earlier partially allowed Mr Swamy plea and had said that his plea to summon other witnesses, including some government officials, in the case shall be allowed only after relevance of their testimony is explained by him.

Mr Swamy, who first deposed in January before another court, had sought permission to testify again on the ground that he was not aware of Mr Chidambaram’s role.

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90% of I-T arrears owed by just 12 people: CAG

Hassan Ali Khan, with a tax arrear demand of Rs50,345.73 crore is followed by Chandrika Tapuriah, wife of his associate Kashi Nath Tapuriah, with an outstanding of Rs20,540.83 crore, while late stock broker Harshad Mehta owes Rs15,944.38 crore in arrears

New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said that 90% of the country’s income tax (I-T) arrears are owed by just a dozen individuals, led by Pune-based stud farm owner Hassan Ali Khan, reports PTI.

Government auditor CAG also noted in a report that these demands are “unrealisable 100%”.

Mr Khan, with a tax arrear demand of Rs50,345.73 crore is followed by Chandrika Tapuriah, wife of his associate Kashi Nath Tapuriah, with an outstanding of Rs20,540.83 crore, while late stock broker Harshad Mehta owes Rs15,944.38 crore in arrears.

“The demand against individuals is highly skewed, with 12 individuals (4.3% of the total cases) accounting for 90% of the arrear demand. One individual Hassan Ali Khan accounts for 43% of the total arrear demand...

Interestingly all of this demand is categorised as unrealisable," CAG said in the report tabled in Parliament.

Mr Khan, along with the Tapuriah couple, is embroiled in a number of cases ranging from money laundering, tax evasion and passport forgery which are being probed by various agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department.

The government, in August this year, had also disclosed the names of the “top 10 individual defaulters” for Income Tax assessment year 2009-10.

Apart from Hassan Ali and Harshad Mehta, they included Kashinath Tapuriah (Rs602.80 crore), AD Narrotam (Rs5,781.86 crore), Hiten P Dalal (Rs4,200.04 crore), Jyoti H Mehta (Rs1,739.57 crore), Ashwin S Mehta (Rs1,595.51 crore), BC Dalal (Rs1,535.89 crore), S Ramaswamy (Rs1,122.48 crore) and Uday M Acharya (Rs683.22 crore).

CAG said the government has a huge tax demand of Rs1.96 lakh crore, of which 84% can’t be realised due to various reasons like death, insolvency and liquidation of company.

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RBI frees rates on NRI deposit schemes; move to stem rupee fall

The deregulation in rates on NRE and NRO deposits is intended to make such funds more attractive at a time when the rupee has depreciated sharply during last few months

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday freed interest rates on various non-resident deposit schemes, a move that will help attract more funds from non-resident Indians (NRIs) and arrest the slide in rupee in the forex market, reports PTI.

The decision to de-regulate interest rates on such deposits comes within 24 hours of RBI putting restrictions on forward contract in rupee to check speculations in the forex market.

The RBI had already freed the saving and deposit rates for resident bank customers.

Friday’s decision will give banks the freedom to fix rates on Non-Resident (External) rupee deposits and Ordinary Non-Resident (NRO) accounts with immediate effect.

“With a view to providing greater flexibility to banks in mobilising non-resident deposits and also in view of the prevailing market conditions, it has been decided to deregulate interest rates (such accounts),” the RBI said in a circular.

“Interest rates offered by banks on NRE and NRO deposits cannot be higher than those offered by them on comparable domestic rupee deposits,” it added.

The deregulation in rates on NRE and NRO deposits is intended to make such funds more attractive at a time when the rupee has depreciated sharply during last few months.

“The move will increase supply of foreign currency, including dollar, in the system,” Crisil chief economist D K Joshi commented

Following Thursday’s RBI move, the rupee made a smart gain of 94 paise to settle the day at 52.70/71 against the dollar on fresh selling of the US currency.

The RBI in its monetary review said it is closely watching the rupee situation and will respond to it as appropriate.

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