Another SC bench refuses to hear plea against ICICI-BoR merger

In his petition, minority shareholder Ram Prasad Somani contended that as the shares owned by the P K Tayal family and his group companies are under judicial scrutiny, they cannot enter into a merger scheme with ICICI Bank

A Supreme Court (SC) bench today declined to hear a petition filed by minority shareholders of the Bank of Rajasthan (BoR), opposing the proposed merger of the troubled Udaipur-based lender with ICICI Bank, reports PTI.

The bench, comprising Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar, asked petitioner Ram Prasad Somani, who is opposing the proposed merger of BoR with ICICI Bank, to approach any other regular bench of the apex court.

The minority shareholders are not disclosing their shares, the bench said while refusing to hear the petition.

This is the second SC bench to have declined to hear the case. On 31st May, a two-judge vacation bench had refused to hear a petition filed by Somani stating that he should approach some other bench.

On 23rd May, ICICI Bank had agreed to take over BoR through a share-swap deal that values the troubled bank at about Rs 3,000 crore.

In his petition, Somani contended that as the shares owned by the P K Tayal family and his group companies are under judicial scrutiny, they cannot enter into a merger scheme with ICICI Bank.

According to the petitioner, the Tayals had acquired over 15% share in BoR without complying with a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulation that mandates a public announcement after crossing the limit.

Following that, SEBI ordered a probe into the allegations and, in March, banned the Tayals and their associated entities from dealing in stock markets until further orders.

Somani had, in 2009, approached the apex court against the Tayals increasing their stake in BoR.

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FIIs snap three-month buying spree, turn net sellers in May

With a net outflow of Rs9,400 crore last month, the total net investment by overseas investors in 2010 came down to Rs20,569 crore

The Eurozone turbulence has led foreign investors to snap their three-month long investment streak in the Indian equity market and emerge net sellers of shares over Rs9,400 crore ($2 billion) in May, reports PTI.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were gross buyers of stocks worth Rs52,192 crore in May, while they sold shares worth Rs61,628 crore, becoming net sellers of Rs9,436 crore, data available with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) showed.

This is the first time after January that FIIs turned net sellers of shares in 2010. During the February-April period, overseas buyers had invested a whopping Rs30,500 crore in Indian stock markets.

"In May, the market was sharply down due to risk aversion by investors globally owing to uncertainty over the Eurozone, which led to heavy selling by FIIs in the Indian market," brokerage firm Sharekhan said in a note.

Stock market benchmark Sensex sank 614 points, or 3.62%, while the Nifty lost 192 points, or 3.63%, in May.

Equities across the globe faltered in the month largely on fears of deepening Eurozone crisis, coupled with political tension between North Korea and South Korea.

FIIs play a significant role in Indian equity markets and their movement (inflow or outflow) causes fluctuation in indices.

With a net outflow of Rs9,400 crore last month, the total net investment by overseas investors in 2010 came down to Rs20,569 crore.

After a record investment of Rs83,400 crore in 2009, FIIs started selling shares in early 2010. Till January, they were net sellers of shares worth Rs500 crore.

However, from February the scenario started changing and they made a net purchase of shares worth Rs1,216 crore.

In April, FIIs were net purchasers of shares worth Rs9,361 crore and March had attracted a whopping Rs19,928 crore.

According to Sharekhan, "In the coming days, it remains to be seen how PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) handle the crises and this may affect FII flow.

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Is Apple planning a solar switch?

The company is developing photovoltaic solar cell technology that might eventually be used to power the iPad.

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