Citizens' Issues
Blackbuck killings: Salman pleads not guilty
Jodhpur (Rajasthan) : Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Thursday insisted that he had been wrongly accused of having illegal weapons and killing two blackbucks here in 1998.
 
"Main nirdosh hoon. Mujhe jhootha fasaya gaya hai. (I am not guilty. I have been falsely implicated)," the actor told Chief Judicial Magistrate Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit. 
 
Asked about the allegations by the prosecution, Salman pleaded that he was "not guilty".
 
Salman has been accused of using illegal arms to kill the protected animals and carrying weapons with expired licence. He has been charged with violating the Arms Act.
 
Thursday was the third time Salman came to the Jodhpur court in connection with the case.
 
Khan's counsel Hastimal Sarswat told IANS: "The court has fixed April 4 as the next date of hearing." He said witnesses will be produced in Salman's defence.
 
During the hearing, Salman replied questions regarding his name, father's name, his age and residential address.
 
Asked about his caste, the actor was silent for a while before replying that he was an Indian.
 
Salman's sister Alvira was present in the court, where the actor spent less than half an hour.
 
Salman and a few Bollywood actors have been accused of poaching the blackbucks on the night of October 1-2, 1998 when he was here to shoot the Hindi movie "Hum Saath Saath Hain".
 
Two blackbucks, a protected animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, were killed on the outskirts of Kankani village near Jodhpur. The killings triggered outrage.
 
The court asked several questions regarding the allegations made by the prosecution's witnesses. Salman denied all the charges.
 
Khan said he was neither with Shivcharan Bohra, the then forest officer, nor did he sign any document. 
 
Asked about the statement of Uday Raghavan, who allegedly brought weapons for Salman from the actor's Mumbai residence, Khan said although the letter authorizing Raghavan to collect the weapons bears his signature, he was forced to sign it.
 
Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajpurohit had on March 3 asked Salman to appear before the court to record his statement on Thursday.
 
The magistrate had dismissed an application from Salman's counsel to re-examine then collector Rajat Mishra.
 
The court was to pronounce its judgment on February 25 last year but this was deferred when a few applications for examination of four witnesses were allowed.
 
After examination of four witnesses, Salman appeared before the court on April 29 last year.
 
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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COMMENTS

Vaibhav Dhoka

1 year ago

This is how justice is delayed due to stretching in this case about two decades will free the accused wherein all evidence can be vanished and so witnesses may forget details so that accuse gets benefit of doubt and prosecution fails in high profile cases.

Ishrat documents missing: Rajnath
New Delhi : Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that key documents related to the Ishrat Jahan case have gone missing from his ministry.
 
"Two letters from the then home secretary to the attorney general in 2009 have gone missing. The then attorney general had vetted two affidavits regarding the case. Those are also not available," Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha while replying to a brief debate over the alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba woman terrorist who was killed in a police firing on June 15, 2004.
 
Without naming Congress's P. Chidambaram, Rajnath Singh alleged that affidavits were corrected on the intervention of the then home minister.
 
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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Why consolidation of Indian banks is no cure to the ills
Government would do well to promote development banks to fund infrastructure projects and relieve public sector banks as experience amply demonstrated that PSBs are not cut for that job of funding long-term projects with short term resources
 
Recently, Gyan Sangam (Intellectual Confluence), the second one after the formation of the present government, discussed ways to revamp the banking system at Gurgaon. It has not offered any better wisdom than loud whispers of consolidation of banks. Is consolidation of banks the right solution?
 
The messy Indian banking at the moment due to huge pile up of non-performing assets (NPAs) in public sector banks (PSBs) in particular, caused by more of funding long term infrastructure projects through short term resources, trying to seek a bail out through mergers and acquisition route, history would not spare the government. 
 
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan rightly warned recently that the merger move is risky without cleaning up the beleaguered banks’ balance sheets. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hinted at the consolidation of unwieldy and economically weak state-run banks even as he kept the door open for lowering the state's stake in them below 50%. He has also spread a red carpet to multi-national asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) providing scope for sale of distressed assets. 
 
I recall what Thomas Koenig, Kansas City Fed Reserve President said on 8 September 2011 in an interview to Oklahoman – mega banks needed break up.  He rightly felt that individual institutions should not grow to a size that would let the nation fail going by the experience of Penn Square Bank failure in Oklahoma. “The Oklahoma City bank's sketchy energy loans eventually led to the collapse of Chicago-based Continental Illinois, the largest bank failure in US history until 2008.” He did not at all support the theory of Fed Reserve ‘too big to fail’ in the aftermath of 2008 recession. 
 
Banking Reforms Committee in India (Chairman M Narasimham, 1991), however, desired for creation of at least six mega banks in India. Attempts were made later to allow the size of ICICI Bank grew in the private sector and State Bank of India (SBI) in the public sector, grew through a few mergers and acquisitions. When there was a near run on the ICICI Bank in September 2009, the Government asked the SBI to pump in Rs400 crore and allow free operations on all the automated  teller machines (ATMs) to give confidence to the customers and the RBI assured the economy that nothing went wrong with the Bank. The RBI in its Financial Stability Report (FSR) of June 2015 also identified these two mega banks as banks posing systemic risks along with four others.
 
Among the 38 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) since nationalisation of banks, a few posed severe problems. The inefficient New Bank of India merger with Punjab National Bank (both public sector banks) and takeover of the failed private sector bank – Global Trust Bank Ltd by Oriental Bank of Commerce, another PSB, took no less than a decade and over for makeover of balance sheets of the merged banks. In the case of former, human resource and cultural issues posed severe discomfort while in the case of the later, technology of GTB being the most sophisticated compared to that prevailing with the OBC the later took more than a decade to assimilate it.
 
Smoother among the takeovers was that of Bank of Madura Ltd with the ICICI Bank. Even the merger of a couple of associate banks with its parent, the SBI had problems in merger of hierarchy and scales of pay as also pension settlements for over a decade. No two merger formats had similarities.
In fact, the drivers of consolidation among banks should be synergies, efficiency, cost saving, and economies of scale. Proactive communication, organisation structure revamp, and appropriate human resource integration would smoothen the course to integration. Several Indian bank mergers in the recent past seem to belie these factors. 
 
Some recent research studies into ICICI and SBI mergers 2008-10 point to least improvement in the share price on NSE and BSE, the return on assets, return on equity, earnings per share and net profits. Indian banks did not secure new customers post merger in most cases. 
 
Quite a few of the PSBs, aping the west, went in for universal banking and incentivised cross-selling as a major business strategy. The incentives for such cross-sold products were so attractive that several executives could care little for the regular banking products and customer service. 
 
Amidst domestic pressures, politics playing spoilsport on the PSBs, due diligence took a beating and global impacts added fuel to the fire in creating NPAs of over Rs6 lakh crore by the end of December 2015 requiring recapitalisation to a degree of Rs1.18 lakh crore. Government chose to pump in a meagre Rs25,000 crore in its latest Budget. This gave rise to the expectation of mergers and acquisitions as a possible route to come out of the capital vows. 
 
It is not size that is the solution to the problems as much as good governance and the government maintaining arm’s length distance from the governance and management of PSBs. By the time, the Bank Board Bureau starts functioning, it may be six months from now. 
 
Cleaning up the boards and balance sheets would depend upon the Bankruptcy Act’s effective implementation. It is past experience that such Acts requiring rules to be framed would take another minimum six months after receiving the President’s assent. Speed of action has always been a casualty in Indian governance and regulatory mechanisms and this shall be the key area of focus of the government.
 
It is also important that the big banks start becoming humble and learn lessons instead of becoming conglomerates of unwieldy nature. Banking basics and customer service can hardly be bargained. Government would do well to restart the Development Banks to fund infrastructure projects and relieve the PSBs from this window as experience amply demonstrated that they are not cut for that job well due to their funding long-term projects with short term resources.
 
Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of International Monetary Fund (IMF) arguing in his Project Syndicate column on ‘the End of Big Banks’, strongly supports Kashkari’s view point that the time has come for review of ‘too big to fail’ theory and breaking big banks would hold better financial stability in a fragmented world.
 
(Dr Yerram Raju Behara or Dr B Yerram Raju  is a former senior executive of SBI and an economist and risk management specialist. The views expressed in the article are his personal.)

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

1 year ago

I am no financial expert, but from a layman's perspective, it does make sense to consolidate PSU Banks and have only 4-5 large ones which collectively address Banking needs in the country. Not all Banks have everything going for them. Some are strong in certain geographies while others are strong in certain sectors / industries, perhaps due to their strategic push over the years. Hence, apart from govt holding in these Banks being the key criteria, PSU Banks should be consolidated keeping other key factors like strategic benefits, staff strength, geographic spread, etc. Ever since Banks were nationalized, Govt after Govt has been using them to either fund financially unfeasible projects for political gains, or use its resources to give loans to shady corporate houses without adequate collateral, as in Vijay Mallya's case. Ideally, Banks or FIs like IDBI, IFCI should focus on sectors they were supposed to address originally, instead of having PSU Banks also jump into the fray needlessly. Finally, there's a reason most private Banks have much less NPAs compared to PSU Banks. It's their focus on profitability. This is missing in PSU Banks, and needs to be pushed hard. Like any govt job, Bank job offers a high job security, and low a/ctability of staff. Unless this work culture changes, even retail consumers will be wary of associating with PSU Banks (many have already moved to private Banks like ICICI, HDFC, Axis, etc.).

V. Jaganmohan

1 year ago

There used to be a concept of Consortium Loaning among Banks in 1980s and 1990swhere all banks used to form a consortium to finance a corporate if its credit requirements exceeded Rs.25 crores. That was the RBI stipulation. All member banks of Consortiums used to take a comprehensive view of the Corporate borrower and finance the corporate jointly led by leader bank of consortium. There used to combined credit appraisal and common documentation. Somewhere, on the way after Economic Reforms, this concept of consortium lending was given a go-by by RBI which encouraged a multiple lending for corporates by each bank with its own risk assessment, credit appraisal and monitoring and documentation. This led to competition among each banks to get big ticket business loans. In the process, each bank started taking individual credit exposure to corporates without any exchange of information with other banks. There is no unified view among Bankers while dealing to corporate. That is how Vijay Mallya and his Kingfisher Airlines could get independent loans to the extent of Rs. 7500 crores from so many banks who unmindfully took such a high exposure without consulting other banks. And each of them lent hundreds of crores without ensuring the end use of funds and credit monitoring. . Bankers have done similar thing earlier while giving such huge loans to MFIs in the past leading to MFIs defaults to Banks. Similar approach was adopted by Deccan Chronicle Ltd while taking Rs.4000 crores loans from multiple banks. All big corporates of the country have been doing the same for last few decades with their loan outstandings to banking sector are more than their sales turnover. That is the most significant reason for today's huge Corporate NPAs in the banking system and each bank is grappling with corporate in its own way. Such a calamity would not have occurred if the concept of Consortium Lending was continued and insisted by RBI. Apart from other measures like Bankruptcy Laws, the concept of consortium lending should be brought back to the banking system where credit exposure to Corporates or Corporate Groups exceed Rs. 500 crores. If the Consortium Lending is brought back, there is NO need for consolidation of Banks as number of Banks in the country are as such much less to the banking requirements of our growing economy.

Gopalakrishnan T V

1 year ago

Issues in Consolidation have been well brought out but consolidation of strong banks is essential to have a few very strong banks of international stature. This can be made possible by merging strong banks and offering VRS to the Staff who oppose. The criteria should be NPAs, Capital adequacy Ratios, Government's share of equity, performance of the Directors and top management, spread of branches, cosmopolitan nature of staff Resources etc. There cannot be two opinions on the need for consolidation.

P b Sarma

1 year ago

The disease affecting PSBs is political interference and political manipulation.How consolidation can cure the disease.Govt is trying to shift public attention from the root cause of the problem.Mega banks may breed mega problems and mega inefficiency and mega pilfer ages also.

MG Warrier

1 year ago

A well-researched analysis.There is sense in the argument that merger is no solution for the kind of problems banks in India are facing today. But, we skipped an essential phase in banking reforms post-nationalisation, which was rationalisation of banks and offices of PSBs. If Narasimham Committee recommendations on reorganisation had been given a thought during 1990’s, this aspect also would have been taken care of and efficiency of the banking system in India would have improved. RBI and GOI have been dodging this issue under pressure from various corners. In some pockets, several branches of different banks with similar skill, efficiency and outlook are trying to exploit the same clientele base. Before it is too late, some policy on merger of branches, offices and where possible banks (here, private sector banks and PSBs should be guided by the same rules of game) acceptable to all stakeholders including employees should be evolved.

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