Advocate and former bureaucrat Abha Singh requested Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan to ignore the pardon request made by Justice Katju for the Bollywood star
Advocate and former bureaucrat Abha Singh has moved the Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan to ignore the pardon request made for Bollywood star and convict Sanjay Dutt by justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI).
In a letter she said, “Since any action on that letter would appear to the people as if it was being done after getting impressed by the statutory authority of justice Katju as chairman of PCI, even though this may be his personal opinion.”
Last week, the Supreme Court upheld conviction of Sanjay Dutt under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The apex court had said, the circumstances and nature of offence (of Dutt) was so serious that he cannot be released on probation. “... (the) evidence and materials perused by the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court in arriving at the decision against Dutt was correct,” the Supreme Court said.
Earlier, justice Katju, in his letter had asked governor Sankaranarayanan to consider a pardon for Dutt citing number of reasons like the Bollywood star was not a terrorist and that his parents had done a lot of social work.
Actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, actor Rajinikanth and even West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee are demanding that Dutt be pardoned.
Here is the letter Abha Singh sent to the governor...
26 March, 2013
The Hon'ble Governor
SUB: Not to Assign Cognisance to the Request Made by Press Council of India Chairman to Pardon Sanjay Dutt.
It has been widely reported that the Chairman, Press Council of India, Shri Markandey Katju, has written to you to pardon Sanjay Dutt, who has been convicted by the Supreme Court for 5 years imprisonment for having taken AK-56 rifle and hand grenades through the now Pakistan-based terrorist, Anees Ibrahim, the brother of global terrorist and international drug trafficker, Dawood Ibrahim, and from the dreaded terrorists Abu Salem, Mohammad Dossa. A copy of this letter, as appearing in his blog, is annexed.
2. It is submitted that this letter has been written by Shri Katju, while being in the position of the Chairman, Press Council of India, which exudes an eloquent colour of his statutory authority. This authority stems from the powers accorded to him under the Press Council Act, 1978, and Rules made there under.
3. It is also seen that Chairman, Press Council of India is a very powerful post and he in that capacity has to adjudicate on complaints of many government officers and political entities with reference to critical articles against them. Therefore, it would be very difficult for any government to undermine his recommendations on any issue, even though it may be his private issue in contrast with his statutory view.
3. That being so, there is a perception among the people, that the government of Maharashtra is being swayed by the colour of statutory authority of the Chairman, Press Council of India, irrespective of the fact that it may be so or not so.
4. It is a settled principle of law and it is that—justice should not only be done but seen to be done. Thus, if any decision is taken to interfere with the judgment of the Supreme Court and accord a pardon, the public shall harbour an apprehension, that the same has been done after getting influenced by the colour of the strong statutory authority of the Chairman of the Press Council of India.
5.Under such circumstances, this is to request you to not to assign any cognisance to the letter under reference, and the same may be filed.
Kishore Biyani, who calls himself as “creator and destroyer”, has hived off yet one more of his non-core businesses. Soon he may re-focus on the retail world, from where he started
Engineering and construction conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Tuesday signed a non-binding term sheet with Italy-based Generali Group and Kishore Biyani-led Future Group for acquiring 51% stake in Future Generali India Insurance (FGI). No financial details were provided but according to media reports, the deal is valued at about Rs560 crore.
FGI is a joint venture between Future Group, owning 74% stake and Generali Group owning 26% stake. Pantaloon Retail, a group company of Future Group would sell its entire 50% stake and the Biyani family, which holds 24% stake in FGI at present, would sell 1% of its stake to L&T for an undisclosed sum.
Biyani is desperately trying to reduce his debt which alone had fuelled his aggressive no-free-cash-flow growth from the mid-2000s.
Earlier this month, Pantaloon Retail sold its 22.5% stake in Future Generali Life Insurance to investment company IITL for about Rs300 crore, valuing the JV at over Rs1,330 crore. The flagship Future Group of Kishore Biyani, which is into retail business through Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar and e-zone and Pantaloon had a debt of over Rs8,000 crore late last year.
Last year, the group hived off its flagship Pantaloon into a separate entity to sell majority stake in it to Aditya Birla Nuvo (ABNL), which agreed to infuse Rs1,600 crore. Biyani also transferred the debt of Rs800 crore to ABNL.
Similarly, in June the debt-ridden Future Group sold its 53.67% stake in Future Capital Holdings to US-based private equity Warburg Pincus for an estimated Rs560 crore. It also got a private placement of about Rs200 crore from Bennet, Coleman & Co (the publishers of Times of India).
Biyani's recent key restructure transactions include stake sale in Pantaloon to ABNL, divestment in Future Capital and demerger of Fashion business of Pantaloon Retail and Future Ventures into Future Lifestyles.
As of 31 December 2012, Pantaloon Retail had a retail debt of about Rs5,400 crore. Once the above mentioned transactions are complete the debt would reduce by Rs2,820 crore, according to the management.
Hong Kong-based Li & Fung, the investor and partner in Biyani's logistics venture Future Supply Chain Solutions, has shown keenness to increase its stake from the current 30% in the JV. This would mean more inflow to Biyani.
While expanding the Future Group beyond retail, Biyani took several risks and in the process incurred huge debt. It appears that he is hiving off his non-core business and may again focus on retail, from where he started. However, this business is low-margin and Big Bazaar and very little customer loyalty. The only way Biyani could grow was through borrowings. And now is he reducing his borrowings.
A slowdown in discretionary spending (only discount driven sales is pulling customers) and cannibalisation from new stores is limiting growth of most retailers. “We are enthused by the pick-up in deleveraging steps initiated by Pantaloon, but believe refocus on core retail business is essential to address slow same store sales growth,” Edelweiss Securities had said in a report.
In his book “It Happened in India” published in 2007, Biyani had written, “There are three kinds of entrepreneurs—creators, preservers and destroyers. I consider myself to be both creator and destroyer. Preserving the status quo has never been my cup of tea’’. This is turning out to be true in a bizarre way.
“Based on the recommendations of FIPB in its meeting held on 6th March, the government has approved six proposals of foreign direct investment amounting to Rs732.77 crore,” the finance ministry said in a statement
The government today approved six FDI proposals, including that of AirAsia Investment, Malaysia, amounting to over Rs732 crore.
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), headed by economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram, also cleared the proposal of SIDBI Social Venture Trust to allot Class A units of the fund to bring foreign investment worth Rs285 crore.
The Rs80.98-crore proposal of AirAsia Investment, Malaysia, to set up a joint venture company to undertake the business of operation of scheduled passenger airlines, was also given approval.
“Based on the recommendations of FIPB in its meeting held on 6 March 2013, the government has approved six proposals of foreign direct investment (FDI) amounting to Rs732.77 crore approximately,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
The biggest proposal that was cleared was that of Hyderabad-based Navayuga Road Projects proposal to act as an investing company and to make downstream investments in its special purpose companies worth Rs357.60 crore.
The board also cleared Hyderabad-based AET Laboratories proposal for induction of additional foreign equity in a pharmaceutical company worth Rs5.34 crore.
The proposal of Bharat Electronics, Bangalore to set up a joint venture company worth Rs2.5 crore to carry out the business of design, development, marketing, supply and support of civilian and select defence radars for Indian and global markets was also approved.
The board, however, deferred seven proposals and rejected one. The proposals which were deferred include that of ICICI Venture Funds Management Company to bring funds from a foreign limited liability company FVCI for making investment in the units of a trust for making investments in portfolio companies in India.
Andhra Pradesh-based Prithvi Information Solutions’ proposal to issue warrants to carry out the business of end-to-end solutions in information technology, RF engineering and knowledge service apart from providing consulting and staff augmentation was also rejected by FIPB.
New Delhi-based Copper Beech Infrastructure was advised by FIPB to approach the Reserve Bank of India for its request for deletion of compounding condition. The company is engaged in the business of setting up educational infrastructure.