Insurance
'Absence of policy-holders' representative in IRDAI panel unfair'
The absence of any representative to voice the views of motor insurance policy-holders in a committee set up by IRDAI to bring clarity and transparency in payouts made to auto dealers is unfair, say industry experts.
 
The government-owned non-life insurer United India Insurance Company Ltd proposes to appeal against allegations by the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence that Cenvat credit on policies sold by car dealers was wrongly claimed, said a top company official.
 
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently announced formation of a seven-member committee to bring clarity and transparency in payouts made to automobile dealers by insurers for getting motor insurance business.
 
Apart from officers of IRDAI, the committee comprises representatives of private and public sector non-life insurance companies and a representative of an insurance broking entity belonging to car makers Maurti and Hyundai.
 
"While acknowledging that the primary aim of creating IRDAI is 'protection of the interests of policy-holders', having representatives of motor policy-holders on the committee would have ensured some fairness," K.K. Srinivasan, a former IRDAI member, told IANS.
 
"Every year, the motor insurance premium goes up and policy-holders are made to pay more. We don't have any voice anywhere," V. Nitya, a two-wheeler owner, told IANS.
 
"The wisdom of forming such a committee at this juncture when another limb of the government -- the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence wing -- is investigating the matter is questionable," Srinivasan added.
 
However, some industry officials do not agree that the committee is a fallout of the investigation by the tax officials and to legalise the excess payments made to car dealers when it is not able to penalise the parties involved.
 
The Chennai Zonal Unit of the Finance Ministry's Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence in August 2015 had issued summons to 16 general insurers for wrongly availing Cenvat credit to the tune of Rs.1,200-2,500 crore on bogus invoices of car dealers.
 
Industry officials said such an investigation is being done in other regions as well by the central excise tax intelligence wing.
 
According to the Finance Ministry, car makers enter into pacts with specific insurance companies.
 
Their car dealers are told to sell policies of only the preferred insurers. This fetches a commission of 2-3 percent for manufacturers and 15-45 percent for the dealers.
 
The tax officials alleged that there were several other discrepancies as well. First, the maximum brokerage or commission that is payable on motor insurance policies is capped at 10 percent. To circumvent that, insurers ask the dealers to inflate invoices to show they have provided services like advertisement and computer renting.
 
"Such invoices are not allowed under Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004, and the Service Tax Rules, 1994, to claim the credit," a senior official involved in the matter said, requesting anonymity.
 
"As these services were never provided by the car dealers, their invoices are not permissible documents under the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004, and the Service Tax Rules, 1994, for availing Cenvat credit by the insurance companies. These facts have been confirmed by the employees of the insurance companies and the car dealers in their voluntary statements," the Finance Ministry said in August.
 
"The dealers do provide us a variety of services, like issuance of policies per se and collecting the survey reports. All these involve some charges," a senior official of one of the 16 insurance companies being probed told IANS, preferring anonymity.
 
He said the expenses claimed by the car dealers were reimbursed against their service tax registration.
 
"We go by the dealer's statement. There is no web portal where insurers can check if the dealer has remitted the service tax," he said.
 
According to him, all the car makers have signed up agreements with one or the other general insurance company.
 
"The annual premium from Maruti car dealers alone will be around Rs.3,000 crore. The business from auto dealers is a big segment," a senior industry official told IANS.
 
According to a senior official of the United India Insurance Company, business from automobile dealer channel is profitable.
 
"While there are 'synergies' in motor dealers functioning as insurance intermediaries, there are 'conflicts of interest' also. Very often 'synergy' and 'conflicts of interest' are two sides of the same coin," Srinivasan said.
 
While motor dealers earn commission (for procuring insurance business) as insurance intermediaries from insurance companies, they also receive claim payments on behalf of policy holders for accident repairs done to insured cars. The stakes are thus very substantial, according to Srinivasan.
 
He said the formation of a committee by IRDAI to study payouts by insurers to motor dealers might be indicative of the perception that there were issues in the payouts.
 
"We have received a show cause notice. We will be appealing against the issuance of the notice to us. The amount involved is not much in our case; it is around Rs.11 crore," Milind Kharat, chairman-cum-managing director of United India Insurance, told IANS.
 
He said investigation by the tax officials and the setting up of the committee by IRDAI were not inter-linked.
 
A senior official in a government-owned company said the IRDAI committee might recommend sub-limits on the payments made to automobile dealiers under various heads.
 
Disclaimer:  Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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CBI, ED questions genuineness of NDTV transactions through Mauritius
This explosive information, contained in the filings with Supreme Court, perused by Moneylife, shows that the CBI has been investigating the NDTV group right since 2008, but the investigation seems to have been suppressed
 
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said it has received information from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that NDTV Studios, an Indian resident company, received Rs387.62 crore from NDTV (Media) Mauritius Ltd in 2008 and a small portion of the funds was used for investment in six new subsidiaries in India until 2009. In addition, in 2010, a major portion of the remaining funds, were invested in NDTV Multimedia (Mauritius) Ltd and further, in two existing wholly-owned subsidiaries in the Netherlands and UK through another subsidiary NDTV Worldwide Mauritius Ltd. Thereafter, NDTV Studios and its six subsidiaries were merged with NDTV thereby creating doubts about the purpose of their setting up as well as the sources of funds for NDTV (Media) Mauritius and the need to set up various companies in Mauritius. 
 
This explosive information, contained in the Court filings perused by Moneylife, shows that the CBI has been investigating the NDTV group right since 2008, but the investigation seems to have been suppressed. Meanwhile the group has sued an investor (Sanjay Dutt) as well as senior journalist (Madhu Kishwar) for defamation, since they asked questions about its finances. 
 
Interestingly, the details about the CBI’s findings have come into the public domain by way of an affidavit filed by the ED in the Delhi High Court, in writ petition No984 of 2015 by Quantum Securities versus the Enforcement Directorate. 
 
In its affidavit before the Court, the ED has further admitted that it had received a complaint from Income Tax (I-T) Commissioner RK Shrivastava in November 2011, as well as complaints from several others regarding NDTV finances.  Yet, ED seems to have opened a formal investigation only in January 2013.  
 
What is shocking is that I-T Commissioner Shrivastava has been subject to untold harassment and allegations as a result of his inquiry, which now appears to be confirmed by CBI, ED as well as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Yet, all these authorities have watched the harassment in silence, for several years now. They also remained silent when Ms Kishwar was sued by NDTV. 
 
What is further astonishing is the silence of the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the two national stock exchanges, National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) whose job it is to ensure that information about these inquiries is available to public shareholders of NDTV Ltd. 
 
Instead, barring the recent disclosure last Friday, the company has constantly denied or remained silent about various inquiries against it. It remains to be seen whether the Exchange authorities will continue to remain aloof as the first-line regulator.
 
The Enforcement Directorate’s submission to the Court further states: “many of the transactions relating to overseas investments/disinvestments are not reported to the RBI, which appears to be in contravention of the provisions of FEMA 1999.”
 
It goes on to make, what is clearly a sensational disclosure in the next paragraph. It says,  “It is alleged that between 2006-09 NDTV has set up a number of subsidiaries registered outside India. One such company NDTV Networks Plc, London, has raised about £150 million in 2005-06. This entire amount was invested in the subsidiary of NDTV Ltd in Mauritius, which further invested in subsidiaries registered in India. It is found that NDTV-related companies have received Rs648.81 crore from the period 2006 to 2011. It is noticed that M/s NDTV had set up step down subsidiaries at Mauritius, Netherlands, Sweden and UK. A maze of step-down subsidiaries was created by way of closure, merger etc. It is alleged that about 294 companies with investors/shareholders having surnames like Chidambaram are running from the same premises as NDTV Network Plc London. 
 
Moneylife has already published an article , with the show cause notice issued by ED to NDTV. 

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COMMENTS

NARENDRA NEGANDHI

2 years ago

Great one again from Moneylife. keep it up. at the same time what can be done to stop harassment to guys like Mr Srivastava?

shivkumar

2 years ago

One more feather in the cap of Sucheta. Will look forward with interest further developments in the case. Hope now it will be taken to its logical end.

Keep it up.

JAYENDRA PANDYA

2 years ago

Hatsoff! for exposing such information. Few days ago you had carried out an article wherein erstwhile minister, Sharad Pawar name appeared in UK based company later closed down..

Moneylife is doing yeoman's job of providing sensitive information which other media are hiding (obviously because they have their godfather sitting over them). This fearless reporting deserves acknowledgement from readers & I hope they get maximum coverage...

Anand Vaidya

2 years ago

Does this government have the guts to complete the investigation in a time bound manner and ensure punishment for the criminals at NDTV?

Sumant Kelkar

2 years ago

A thorough, unbiased and fast track inquiry is needed to unravel the truth behind the financial jugglery of NDTV whose profit graph raises concerns about its viability but the funds inflow is surprisingly high. Everything should be brought in public domain and who ever shirked responsibility must be punished.

Sumant Kelkar

2 years ago

A thorough, unbiased and fast track inquiry is needed to unravel the truth behind the financial jugglery of NDTV whose profit graph raises concerns about its viability but the funds inflow is surprisingly high. Everything should be brought in public domain and who ever shirked responsibility must be punished.

Sunil

2 years ago

Wow just incredible and how can we ever have an independent and unbiased media.

India, Malaysia sign cyber security, infrastructure accords
India and Malyaysia signed three agreements on cyber security, cultural exchange and infrastructure development on Monday, the third day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to this southeast Asian nation.
 
While the cyber security agreement was signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-IN) and Cyber Security, Malaysia, the cultural exchange programme agreement was inked between the ministries of culture of the two countries. The infrastructure development agreement was signed between India's NITI Aayog and Malaysia's Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).
 
The cyber security agreement seeks to promote closer cooperation and the exchange of information pertaining to cyber security incident management, technology cooperation, cyber attacks, prevalent policies and best practices and mutual response to cyber security incidents.
 
The agreement on cultural exchange aims “to strengthen frinedship between the two countries and further develop their cultural exchanges and cooperation by way of visits of delegations at various levels and troupes, organising art exhibitions, participation of scholars and experts in conferences etc”.
 
The agreement on infrastructure development is aimed at strengthening, promoting and developing cooperation in the areas of performance management, monitoring related to government programmes to enhance public service delivery, improve efficiency of implementation methods and procedure and develop templates and tools to monitor performance of government programmes.
 
The agreements were signed following delegation-level talks between the two sides headed by Modi and Malaysian Premier Najib Razak.
 
Earlier on Monday, Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome and a guard of honour at Putrajaya, the federal administrative centre of Malaysia, where he was greeted with a hug by Razak. 
 
The Indian prime minister attended the 13th Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India Summit on Saturday and the 10th East Asia Summit on Sunday.
 
Modi will leave for Singapore later on Monday on the second and last leg of his southeast Asian tour.
 
Disclaimer:  Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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