Bharti Airtel under scanner by ED in money laundering case

Bharti Airtel, the country's largest private telecom company, is under the ED scanner for alleged money laundering case

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing money laundering cases against Bharti Airtel, minister of state for Finance SS Palanimanickam informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, reports PTI.

"Directorate of Enforcement is investigating cases under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, involving Bharti Airtel Ltd," he said in a written reply.

The minister, however, did not provide additional information, saying, "It may not be in the interest of the ongoing investigations to provide any further details."

Bharti Airtel is the country's largest private telecom company, which offers mobile phone services under 'Airtel'. It has operations in several other countries, including Africa.

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Airtel India

5 years ago

Bharti Airtel maintains the highest standards of corporate governance and regulatory compliance and has always complied with all norms. We have provided all relevant details asked for by the authorities in this matter and will be happy to cooperate further, should the need arise

2G scam: A Raja gets bail in special CBI court

The court granted bail to the DMK MP on a personal bond of Rs20 lakh and two sureties of the like amount

New Delhi: Over 15 months after his arrest, former Telecom Minister A Raja on Tuesday was granted bail by a Delhi court in the 2G spectrum case, reports PTI.

"The bail application is allowed," Special CBI Judge OP Saini said.

The court granted bail to the DMK MP on a personal bond of Rs20 lakh and two sureties of the like amount.

The court while granting bail imposed conditions on Mr Raja that he will not visit Tamil Nadu without its prior permission and will not go to the office of the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The court, in its 14-page bail order, also said that Raja would not try to influence any witnesses while on bail. Raja was arrested on 2nd February, last year.

The CBI had raised questions on Raja's alleged links with Mauritius-based Delphi Investment Ltd, in which Reliance Telecom Ltd had allegedly transferred its shares and said if released on bail at this stage, he might tamper with evidence.

Raja had sought bail, saying the Supreme Court, while granting bail to former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, had not distinguished the case of public servant from that of others.

He had submitted that he and Behura were facing similar charges of abetment, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

Raja's counsel had submitted that as his client was no longer a Union cabinet minister, he could not tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses.

Besides Raja, his private secretary RK Chandolia, Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi, corporate honchos -- Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group's MD Gautam Doshi, ADAG group President Surendra Pipara and Senior Vice President Hari Nair, Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra and Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka--are facing trial in the case.

The court has also put on trial Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Director of Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd Karim Morani and Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal.

Besides these 14 persons, three telecom firms - Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd, are also facing trial in the case.

Raja and others have been charged for the offences of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and corruption besides criminal breach of trust that entails a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

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Economy & Nation Exclusive
Ashok Leyland reports poor quarterly and annual results, ropes in MS Dhoni as brand ambassador

The commercial vehicle manufacturer has roped in cricket superstar Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador while it reports poor quarterly results

Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja group company and commercial vehicle major, has reported a weak March 2012 quarter, with its net profit declining over 13%, year-on-year to Rs258.73 crore, on the back of increased cost of materials which was dearer by 19% for the same time period. Net sales managed to increase only 11% to Rs4,235.82 crore. The company has reported a 16.13% increase in net sales for the year ended 31 March 2012, mostly aided by slightly higher sales realisations. It sold 1,02,009 vehicles during the same time period, an increase of 8.4%, which is less than the average increase of 10% over the last three years. However, its annual net profits were poor, which declined by over 10%, year-on-year, to Rs566.97 crore.

Despite the poor results, it has, for the first time, roped in a celebrity endorsement-none other than star cricketer MS Dhoni. The company hopes this move will give it a much-needed facelift and a boost in its sales, going forward. We do not know whether a celebrity endorser will work well for a segment such as commercial vehicles, since the buyer is usually a corporate and not an individual. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether corporates can identify with the MS Dhoni brand.

According to the company's press release, managing director Vinod K Dasari said, "Mahi's (MS Dhoni) choice was almost automatic for I cannot think of another person befitting the values of Brand Ashok Leyland so well. A true son-of-the-soil, a leader who is focused, straight-thinking, passionate and, most of all, humble, he will lead the numerous initiatives that are on the anvil." He further added, "We believe that all these efforts will help enhance customer profitability to a new level."

Much of its business remains cyclical, which means truckers buy in good times and remain passive during economic hardships. This means the company becomes vulnerable to economic cycles. Most of the trucks are financed by vehicle loans which are linked to interest rates. In a high interest rate regime, vehicle sales get affected and Ashok Leyland was no exception as its sales grew only 11% which was less that the pace of increase in expenses which grew 19%.  Therefore it has been trying to target newer segments, such as defence and exports.

To tackle uneven economic cycles, Ashok Leyland has started a slew of initiatives and new product innovations to aggressively gain market share and become one of the strongest players in the commercial vehicle business.

The company unveiled DOST, which marked its entry into the robustly growing LCV (light commercial vehicle) market in joint venture with Nissan Motor Company. With a payload capacity of 1.25 tonnes, DOST enters the small commercial vehicle (SCV) market which is witnessing a perceptible upward shift in terms of features, performance and payload.

The defence segment, which has seen increased spend over the years, is another target segment for the company. For this, it has launched the Super Stallion, an 8x8 High Mobility Vehicle (HMV), and with that, the expansion of its range of logistics vehicles catered towards the defence sector. It is also aiming to export more vehicles abroad.

It hopes that its share of non-cyclical revenue will be 50% over the next few years.

Last year, it had announced bonus shares for its shareholders. Free shares were given to shareholders for each single one held, thus doubling its share capital to Rs26.607 crore.

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