Nation
Bansal case accused TV actor Anuj Saxena surrenders in court
TV actor and COO of Elder Pharmaceuticals Anuj Saxena, accused of bribing former Ministry of Corporate Affair official B.K. Bansal who committed suicide, surrendered himself before a Delhi court on Thursday.
 
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Gurdeep Singh directed the Chief Operating Officer (COO) to mark his presence on Friday, the next date fixed for hearing.
 
Saxena was directed by the Delhi High Court on February 13 to surrender himself before trial court by February 17.
 
The High Court had also directed him to withdraw his anticipatory bail plea and move it afresh before the trial court concerned.
 
The CBI has alleged that Saxena had contacted another co-accused Vishwadeep Bansal to negotiate with a senior Corporate Affairs Ministry official for not recommending the matter to Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) for probe against his company.
 
The investigating agency has also alleged that Corporate Affairs Ministry officer Bansal was dealing with the violations by Elder Pharmaceuticals.
 
The court observed that Saxena's role is direct, as he was the beneficiary from the alleged offence.
 
Key accused B.K. Bansal and and his 31-year-old son Yogesh committed suicide on September 27, 2016, by hanging themselves at their house in east Delhi. His wife Satyabala, 57, and daughter Neha, 27, committed suicide on July 19 last year.
 
Bansal, an Additional Secretary-rank Director General in the ministry, was arrested by the CBI on bribery charges on July 16. Later, he was granted bail.
 
He was accused of receiving Rs9 lakh from Mumbai-based Elder Pharmaceuticals.
 
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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Note ban hit microfinance loans in Q3 by 26%: MFIN
The Indian microfinance industry recorded a drop of 26% in the number of loans disbursed and a 16% decline in loan amounts disbursed during the third quarter ended December, as compared to the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal, the Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) said on Thursday.
 
"The pulling out of the High-Value Currency Notes (HCVNs) from circulation significantly impacted the microfinance sector, which is 99 per cent cash-driven," MFIN -- the self-regulatory body of the Reserve Bank-regulated non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) -- said in a release here.
 
"The decrease on both disbursement and collection is due to the impact on industry post discontinuance of Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes," it said.
 
"Post the discontinuation of HCVNs with effect from midnight of 8th November, the industry was thrown out of gear initially," said MFIN Chief Executive Ratna Vishwanathan.
 
"During the whole two months post discontinuing of High-Value Currency Notes, MFIN has had to engage with state governments, at both the ministerial level as well as the bureaucracy, the RBI and extensively with the press, to quell the surge of disinformation with reference to microfinance practices," she added.
 
According to the body, loans disbursed during the third quarter ended December amounted to Rs12,424 crore, as compared to Rs14,707 crore disbursed during the same quarter last year.
 
However, the microfinance industry grew by 53% year-on-year during the quarter in consideration, the statement said.
 
The aggregate gross loan portfolio of microfinance institutions stood at Rs56,634 crore in the quarter ended December 2016, as compared to Rs36,912 crore in the same quarter of the previous year.
 
The MFIN also said that 56% of total disbursements during the quarter came from five states -- Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha and Bihar.
 
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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Trump Then: ‘I Would Have No Problem’ Banning Lobbyists. Trump Now: You’re Hired!

During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly welcomed the idea of banning lobbyists from his administration.

 

Fast forward eight months, and now-President Trump is welcoming them in.

 

Last June on CBS's "Face the Nation," host John Dickerson asked Donald Trump: Given the candidate's drumbeat of criticism of the Washington lobbyist class, "Will you say 'No lobbyists will work for me and no big donors?'"

 

"I would have no problem with it, honestly," Trump responded.

 

After the exchange, a "Face the Nation" producer followed up with campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who confirmed that, yes, Trump was referring to banning lobbyists from his administration.

 

The sentiment is in line with what Trump told NBC's "Meet the Press" in another interview a year earlier, when he called banning lobbyists from working in his administration "a pretty good idea."

 

As ProPublica detailed last week, a longtime construction industry lobbyist who previously worked against wage and workplace safety regulations is now in a key position at the Department of Labor. The lobbyist, Geoff Burr, is reportedly in line to be chief of staff if Andrew Puzder is confirmed as Labor secretary.

 

At the Food and Drug Administration, longtime pharmaceutical lobbyist Jack Kalavritinos has a senior role in the agency's early Trump team, according to Stat News.

 

Kalavritinos spent more than seven years as the chief lobbyist of the medical device and pharmaceutical firm Covidien. (Covidien was subsequently acquired by Medtronic.) In that role, Kalavritinos lobbied the FDA and Congress on a host of issues related to medical device regulation, disclosure records show. Among the legislation he lobbied on was the Novel Device Regulatory Relief Act and the Food and Drug Administration Mission Reform Act.

 

Trump himself recently criticized the extensive influence of the pharmaceutical lobby. "Pharma has a lot of lobbies and a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power and there's very little bidding on drugs," he said at a press conference last month.

 

K Street was a frequent punching bag for Trump on the campaign trail. He once tweeted:

 

It's difficult to know how many former lobbyists are now working in the Trump administration. Both Burr and Kalavritinos are members of Trump's so-called "beachhead teams," which are made up of officials installed at federal agencies to lay the groundwork while the president's nominees make their way through the Senate confirmation process. The administration has said there are around 500 such staffers, but has not released a list of names.

 

Trump last month issued an executive order on ethics for appointees that weakened elements of the Obama-era policy on former lobbyists joining government.

 

Trump also hired a range of lobbyists into influential positions during the transition period, between Election Day and the inauguration on Jan. 20. As The New York Times noted in November, telecom, energy, and agriculture industry consultants and lobbyists were all named to influential roles.

 

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

 

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