Adarsh panel says land does not belong to Army

The two-member panel also held that the building was not reserved for war heroes and Kargil widows

MUMBAI: In a huge relief to Maharashtra government, the judicial commission of inquiry looking into the Adarsh housing scam has held that the land on which the controversial building stands belongs to the state and not the Army, reports PTI.

The two-member panel, which had submitted its interim report to the government last Friday, has also held that the building was not reserved for war heroes and Kargil widows.

The interim report was discussed by the Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday, sources close to the development said, adding it is likely to be tabled in the legislature later in the day.

The commission headed by former Bombay high court judge JA Patil includes former state chief secretary P Subramanian.

The report, according to sources, has thrown light on the issues of ownership of the land on which the 31-storey high-rise stands in upscale Colaba, and if it was reserved for war heroes and Kargil conflict widows.

The allegations in the case are that the land was allotted by the state government to the Adarsh Society though it belonged to the defence ministry, and the building came up in violation of several civic and environmental norms.

The state government had approached the commission a few months ago seeking an interim report on the points of title and reservation.

The Maharashtra government had appointed the two-member panel to probe the Adarsh Society scam in January last year.

The panel has been tasked with probing all aspects of the scam, including ownership of the land and allotment, as well as alleged violations of rules in grant of various clearances to the building. The commission is also looking into violation of coastal zone regulations.

A number of top civil and Army officials and politicians, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan, are alleged to have facilitated clearances for the building and got flats in it as quid pro quo.

Nine of the 14 accused, including two senior IAS officers, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the scam.

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SEBI in talks with RBI, IRDA for common KYC norms

In the near future one KYC with any one of the KYC Registration Authority (KRA) will suffice for all the transactions across spectrum of the financial sector

New Delhi: Aiming to ease procedural hurdles that investors face, market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today said it was in talks with other regulators, including RBI and IRDA, for common know-your-customer norms for the financial sector.

"We are in dialogue with the banking regulator, insurance regulator. We are working towards that. In the near future one KYC with any one of the KYC Registration Authority (KRA) will suffice for all the transactions across spectrum of the financial sector, SEBI Chairman UK Sinha said at the CII's AGM.
 
Mr Sinha said SEBI was in talks with regulators in this regard and the common KYC may come soon. "The long-term plan, on which we have already started working, is how to ensure that for all the transactions in the financial sector...Can the same KYC suffice?" he added.

At present, there are different requirements and yardsticks for KYC in the financial sector.

However, for securities transactions SEBI already has come out with a common KYC. At present, there are three KRAs. If an investor registers with one of the KRAs, then for any other transaction in the securities market he does not need to go for another round of KYC.

On retail participation, Mr Sinha said one of the reasons for less participation was lack of awareness. "We are going to launch a very massive drive towards investor education and we would be very happy if agencies or individual corporate start cooperating with us in spreading that message," he added.

He also pointed out that in recent times, a large number of Indians have started to rely on gold as a safe asset in comparison to other financial assets.

This is primarily because investors are losing confidence in the market and there is lack of awareness about various financial assets, he said.

He said in order to motivate people to invest in capital market, there is a need to provide investors with good quality financial assets.

"SEBI will ensure a reliable system whereby people are assured that there are uniform rules of the game and if these rules are not maintained they will be taken to task in order to increase market confidence," he said.

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Oil companies asks government to cut taxes or face petrol price hike

Oil companies have served an ultimatum to the Indian government that they will raise petrol prices by Rs9.6 a litre if excise duty is not cut

New Delhi: State-run oil companies have served an ultimatum to the Indian government that they will raise petrol prices by Rs9.6 a litre if excise duty is not cut or they are not provided compensation for Rs49-crore per day loss on fuel sale, reports PTI.

"We have been very patient, not raising prices since December despite our cost of production spiralling. But there is a limit to which we can borrow money and produce fuel for the country," Indian Oil Corp Chairman R S Butola said.

IOC, together with Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum, is losing Rs49 crore per day on petrol sale alone. They are losing another Rs573 crore every day on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost.

Mr Butola said oil PSUs in the first 15 days of April lost Rs745 crore in revenue on petrol, whose pricing was freed from the government control in June 2010. But rarely have the product prices moved in tandem with cost as oil companies bowed to government diktats.

"We have suggested that the government should temporarily end deregulation and give subsidy to make up for the difference between cost of production and sale price. Alternatively, the government can cut the Rs14.78 excise duty it collects when a consumer buys one litre of petrol," he said.

The states also levy VAT or sales tax ranging from 15% to 33% (Rs10.30 a litre to Rs18.74 per litre), which too can be cut to avoid a price hike.

If the suggestions are not accepted "we would have no option but to increase the price of petrol by Rs8.04 per litre (excluding state levies) with immediate effect", he said. After including 20 per cent VAT, the increase in Delhi will come to Rs9.60 a litre.

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