Nation
Baba Ramdev launches fast, declares fight for Lokpal on

Returning to Ramlila Maidan where he was bundled out in the middle of night in June last year after a police crackdown, Baba Ramdev claimed his agitation was neither against any individual nor targeted at any political party

 
New Delhi: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Thursday launched a three-day fast along with his supporters demanding immediate action to enact a strong Lokpal and steps to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks failing which he will announce his future strategy, reports PTI.
 
Returning to Ramlila Maidan in the heart of the capital from where he was bundled out in the middle of night in June last year after a police crackdown, the yoga guru claimed his agitation was neither against any individual nor targeted at any political party.
 
Taking his supporters by surprise, Ramdev announced he would go on a fast for three days over demands that also include an independent CBI.
 
"We will go without food and water for three days. After that, we think about our future strategy," he told his supporters.
 
Offering to talk to the government on the issues, Ramdev also demanded a change in the process of appointing Election Commissioners, CAG, CVC and CBI Director.
 
He also shed some light on his association with the erstwhile team led by Anna Hazare, saying he was supportive of the agenda being pursued by the social activist but was not part of the team.
 
"The fight for Lokpal has not ended but we will take it forward. All corrupt people have to be punished," he said and demanded that a strong Lokpal Bill be passed in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.
 
Ramdev's comments assume significance as they come days after Hazare called off his fast and disbanded his team which has decided to take a political plunge.
 
"We are not against any individual or party. Our intention is to make India a great nation. This is not to overthrow someone from power," he said.
 
Ramdev said he has no political agenda and the second phase of his protest will be announced if the government does not agree to his demands on blackmoney, Lokpal Bill, appointment procedures and making CBI independent.
 
Referring to Union Minister Harish Rawat's statement that the government was ready to talk to him, he said that he was also open to dialogue with it.
 
"Somebody in power is saying they are ready to talk to us. I am telling Sonia Gandhi that our doors are also open for dialogue," he said.
 
Anna Hazare was not there at the fast venue though he had earlier declared that he will join the protest.
 
"Many have questioned about this 'andolan' (movement). We are with Anna's social agenda but not with the team. We will not cement and trigger controversy. No body from the dais will talk," Ramdev said.
 
He reached the venue this morning to a thunderous welcome from his supporters. Before coming to the venue, he visited Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi's memorial.
 
Ramdev's previous protest in Ramlila Maidan from June four, last year ended in a midnight police crackdown on the morning of June six with authorities claiming that he violated the norms agreed upon. He was caught by the police while trying to flee from the venue in a woman's attire.
 
A poster of Ramdev's close aide Balakrishna, who is in CBI custody in connection with a fake document case, alongside freedom fighters at the protest venue triggered a controversy following which it was removed.
 
"We respect all freedom fighters," Ramdev said.
 
As Ramdev arrived at the venue, all those present on the dais moved out of the dais.
 

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Company Law Board stops Uninor from auctioning its asset

Uninor on 1st August invited potential bidders and said its majority owner, Norway's Telenor, is willing to pay Rs4,190 crore for its 30 million customers and assets in case no other bidder turns up

 
New Delhi: The Company Law Board on Thursday stopped telecom operator Uninor from auctioning its assets, reports PTI.
 
"I allow the application and injunct the respondent (Uninor) from taking any steps whatsoever in pursuance to the auction notice published on 1st August or similar notices that may have been published," CLB Chairman Justice DR Deshmukh said in his order.
 
Uninor is a joint venture telecom company between Norway's Telenor and realty major Unitech.
 
Uninor on 1st August invited potential bidders to express interest by 6th August and said its majority owner, Norway's Telenor, was willing to pay Rs4,190 crore for its 30 million customers and assets in case no other bidder turns up.
 
This move was opposed strongly by Unitech, which hold 32.75% stake in Uninor, and approached CLB against the notice.
 
Telenor wants to scrap the joint venture with Unitech and migrate its business to a new company to seek fresh operating licences as the JV's 22 telecom permits were among the 122 quashed by the Supreme Court in February.
 
Uninor had said it wanted to auction the company's business, including its assets, while it is a going concern before the 7th September deadline set by the apex court for winding up of operations of all the firms whose licences had been cancelled.
 
Uninor has approached Delhi High Court which modified CLB stay order on the auction and allowed Uninor to receive till August 8 the expressions of interest (EoI) from bidders interested in purchasing the company's business.
 
"Let the auction process continue and it would be clarified (in the order) that nothing will be confirmed till the CLB finally decides the matter," the High Court said on the application filed by Uninor.
 

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PIL against SEBI consent orders gains strength

Delhi High Court allows Midas Touch Investors Association to be impleaded into the public interest litigation against SEBI’s artibrary Consent Orders

 
Despite strenuous objections by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) the Delhi High Court has allowed Midas Touch Investors Association’s application for impleadment in the public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the regulator’s powers to settle cases through its ‘Consent’ orders. 
 
The original PIL filed by one Deepak Khosla against SEBI in 2011 had brought the entire consent proceedings to a halt. Mr Khosla had challenged the very statutory basis of SEBI consent mechanism. 
 
Interestingly, on 8th August, the Delhi High Court bench of justices AK Sikri and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, overruled some strenuous objections and pleadings by SEBI and allowed the investor association to be impleaded in the case. SEBI’s counsel had argued that Midas should file a fresh PIL in the matter and that its action in impleading itself was ‘motivated’ and filed “with a view to lend credibility to the petition” and gain publicity. SEBI had clearly been hoping that its revised consent guidelines would be accepted by the high court and with it the original PIL filed by Mr Khosla, a businessman, would not survive. 
 
This is ironic, since it is Midas Touch’s celebrated case in the 1990s after the Harshad Mehta scam that forced bank mutual funds such as Canbank Mutual Fund’s Canstar to pay the ‘assured’ returns it had promised investors. It is also well-known for its PIL in the aftermath of the IPO (initial Public Offerings) mania in what is better known as the “Vanishing Companies saga”. These are companies which looted investors by floating public issues and vanishing with the funds. Midas Touch, also a SEBI accredited investor association, has been running an Investor Helpline supported by the ministry of corporate affairs.
 
In the impleadment application [CM No 4200 of 2012 in WP(C ) No 6949 of 2011] Ms Madhumita Bhattacharjee, the counsel for Midas Touch said that the NGO can bring additional facts before the court and assist in dispensing justice. The court, while allowing the application, said that Midas “shall not repeat the contentions raised in the PIL”.
 
Midas Touch has said that consent guidelines issued by SEBI, besides being illegal, have been grossly abused. It referred to the  recommendations of  a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) constituted in the wake of the Ketan Parekh scam. The JPC had identified certain corporate entities that colluded with Ketan Parekh (identified as the central figure of the securities scam) and asked SEBI, the ministry of corporate affairs as well as investigation and enforcement agencies to investigate the nexus between them. 
 
Instead of investigating these as asked by the JPC, several of these have been settled using the consent mechanism. In effect, the cases have been selttled “in defiance of the will of the Parliament”, says the NGO. It cites the example of Himachal Fututristic Communications whose matter was settled by SEBI through consent order on payment of Rs10 rore in 2010, and the entire consent process spanning nearly two years, was not reported to the Parliament in the Action Taken Reports. (The cases against Global Tele has also be disposed off by SEBI, while that of the Zee Group was settled via adjudication proceedings and it was let off with a warning and no penal action whatsoever). 
 
Midas’ application stated that the PIL petition of Deepak Khosla has not raised the fact of constitution, investigation, report, recommendations of JPC and action taken reports thereon laid before the Parliament. Midas Touch Investors pointed out that it was one of the eight unconnected organizations/individuals invited by the JPC to depose before it on the scam. Hence, impleading it in the case, would enable it to help the court dispense justice, said Midas’ counsel.
 
Virendra Jain, president of Midas Touch points out that the revision of consent guidelines subsequent to its impleadment application does not make the mechanism legal. The Delhi High Court decision, we believe, has considerably strengthened the case against SEBI’s consent regime. It is important to remember that Midas Touch and investor associations such as Moneylife Foundation (which is a sister entity of Moneylife magazine and a not-for-profit organization) are not the only ones to believe that the consent mechanism is used by SEBI to let off the guilty. Dr Mohan Gopal, a legal luminary, who was a director on the SEBI board has also criticized its working in an explosive letter to the prime minister of India. Please read: Dr Mohan Gopal’s explosive exposé of SEBI’s functioning under Bhave.
 
Moneylife has repeatedly pointed out how the spirit of the consent mechanism has been vitiated by SEBI, by allowing the same persons, entities or intermediaries to file consent and get away by paying a fine. In most cases, the details of the charges filed by SEBI are unclear since the consent order is deliberately opaque; worse, and similar offenses have led to widely divergent payments under the consent terms. 
Also read  Con by Consent.  
 

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COMMENTS

nagesh kini

5 years ago

The Court ought to order that the business of Consent Orders be put an immediate end to as it is rampantly abused and the big fish get away paying peanuts only to get back with impunity to carry old tricks - incorrigible too!

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

Thanks for these informative reports. But I am amoung those who believe that looking for justice in our courts is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Anyhow, even then it is not a hopeless situation, is it? May I also ask : what is the credibility or culpability of the credit rating agencies?

REPLY

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 5 years ago

That is why Thumb Down option is not there in Facebook.

Thumb Up - Credibility,

Thumb Down - Culpability!

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 5 years ago

That is why Thumb Down option is not there in Facebook.

Thumb Up - Credibility,

Thumb Down - Culpability!

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 5 years ago

No culpability, only credibility! Just like Facebook, you like it for its credibility. If you don't like it, no culpability.

You may have selected a politician for his/her credibility, but you can't de-select or reject him/his for culpability.

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 5 years ago

No culpability, only credibility! Just like Facebook, you like it for its credibility. If you don't like it, no culpability.

You may have selected a politician for his/her credibility, but you can't de-select or reject him/his for culpability.

Vikas Gupta

5 years ago

SEBI is totally working against investors. I have reported a no. of Complaints to SEBI as well as SCORES, but all my complaints had been settled not in the Investors Interests & not even communicated by SEBI.

REPLY

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to Vikas Gupta 5 years ago

I understand that SEBI is just a regulatory body, and has no power or authority to initiate any action. It acts as a messenger on behalf of the complainant to remind the erring companies.

Moneylife should be knowing the competent authority or the aggrieved party has to approach Moneylife for resolving the issue.

Rajkumar Singh

5 years ago

We appreciate the painstaking efforts of the Moneylife Team, in their mission to spread the financial literacy, which has been the voice of aggrieved parties, and always remained the voice of investors or savers.

"Hail Moneylife"!

Wishing you a great success.

Rajkumar Singh

5 years ago

We appreciate the painstaking efforts of the Moneylife Team, in their mission to spread the financial literacy, which has been the voice of aggrieved parties, and always remained the voice of investors or savers.

"Hail Moneylife"!

Wishing you a great success.

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