CBI questions Kanimozhi, Dayalu Ammal in 2G allocation scam

The two were questioned on alleged transfer of money from Mumbai-based Cineyug to Kalaignar TV, in which Dayalu Ammal has a 60% stake and Ms Kanimozhi holds 20% stake

Chennai: Widening its probe into the second generation (2G) scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today questioned DMK chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and his wife Dayalu Ammal on alleged transfer of money from Mumbai-based Cineyug to Kalaignar TV, in which both jointly own 80% stake, reports PTI.

Ms Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha member, and Ms Dayalu Ammal were questioned by CBI officials, who arrived here from Delhi, about the transfer of Rs214 crore to Kalaignar TV from Cineyug, a subsidiary of Swan Telecom, which is a 2G spectrum beneficiary, agency sources said.

The team had on 18th February raided the premises of Kaliagnar TV and questioned its managing director Sharad Kumar, who has denied any links with the 2G spectrum scam.

As promoters of Kalaignar TV, Dayalu Ammal has a 60% stake and Ms Kanimozhi 20%. The questioning comes ahead of the 31st March deadline set by the Supreme Court for the filing of charge sheet in the case.

Kalaignar TV had said earlier that the central investigating agencies could verify their accounts and documents any time.

Under the supervision of the apex court, the CBI is currently probing the 2G spectrum scam which has already led to the exit of DMK MP A Raja as telecom minister, who is currently in judicial custody in Tihar prison.

According to CBI, the money was given by Cineyug for picking up stakes in the TV, but the deal failed. The money was returned with an interest of Rs31 crore.

Mr Karunanidhi has been parrying questions on reports that 2G spectrum money was routed to Kalaignar TV.

The CBI had claimed in a Delhi court recently that there was a link between scam accused Shahid Usman Balwa-promoted Swan Telecom and Kalaignar TV.

Mr Balwa was allegedly favoured by Mr Raja in grant of spectrum licence, according to the CBI.

Sharad Kumar has maintained that there was no link between the 2G Spectrum allocation done in 2007-08 and the loan transaction that took place between Kalaignar TV and Cineyug Films private limited in 2009.

The CBI has alleged that the funds were arranged by Cineyug Films from DB Group companies wherein the family members of Balwa are the directors or shareholders.


Cos Bill not likely to be passed in current Parliament session: MCA

The curtailment of the Budget session on account of forthcoming assembly elections in some states has led to the delay in passing the Bill. However, minister of state for corporate affairs RPN Singh expressed confidence that the Bill would be cleared in the next session

New Delhi: The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) today said the Companies Bill 2009, which seeks to replace a half-a-century-old Act, is not likely to be passed in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament, reports PTI.

"We are working on the Companies Bill. But because Parliament is being cut short, we may not be able to pass it in this session", minister of state for corporate affairs RPN Singh told reporters on the sidelines of an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) event here.

Mr Singh, however, exuded confidence that the Bill will be cleared in the next Parliament session.

"But we will definitely be able to get it through in the next session," the minister said.

The new Companies Bill, which was tabled in the backdrop of the Rs14,000 crore Satyam fraud, promises greater shareholder democracy and stricter corporate governance norms.

The Bill proposes introduce the concept of class action suits for the first time in India, which would empower investors to sue a company for 'oppression and mismanagement' and claim damages.

Among other things, it also proposes to tighten the laws for raising money from the public.

The Bill also seeks to prohibit insider trading by company directors or key managerial personnel by treating such activities as a criminal offence.

Relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR) provisions stipulated in the Bill, Mr Singh said, "My and the minister's (minister of corporate affairs Murli Deora) view is that it should be made mandatory. But how to implement it will be in the hands of the industry itself."

The Bill has proposed that companies should earmark 2% of the average profit of the preceding three years for CSR activities, and make a disclosure to shareholders about the policy adopted in the process.

Industry has been of the view that they should be allowed to monitor implementation of CSR themselves without government intervention, which the Centre has accepted.

The suggestion for earmarking a part of a company's profit for CSR was floated by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which scrutinised the Companies Bill, 2009.

Subsequently, the MCA proposed that "every company with net worth of Rs500 crore or more, or turnover of Rs1,000 crore or more or a net profit of Rs5 crore or more during a year shall be required to formulate a CSR Policy ... As may be approved and specified by the company".

The Companies Bill (2008), which lapsed with the dissolution of the 14th Lok Sabha, was reintroduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2009. Subsequently, in August 2010 the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance gave its report after examining the provisions of the law.


Current level of food inflation unacceptable: FM

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the high inflationary pressure, especially in food and some non-food articles, existed in other emerging economies also, adding that the government has taken several steps to bring down rising food prices by enhancing supply of essential commodities

New Delhi: Terming the current level of food inflation of 9.5% as "unacceptable", finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the government has taken several steps to bring it down further especially through enhancing supply of essential commodities, reports PTI.

"At the beginning of last year, food inflation was 20.2%, and now it is 9.5%. However, this figure is equally unacceptable," Mr Mukherjee said while replying to the discussion on the General Budget 2011-12 in Lok Sabha.

Mr Mukherjee said the high inflationary pressure, especially in food and some non-food articles, existed in other emerging economies also.

"I am not making any plea. This is not an excuse that because there is inflation in other areas there should be inflation in India also. It is not. But the fact of the matter is inflationary pressure is visible all over the world. It is not merely in our country," he said.

Linking food inflation to global developments, the minister pointed out that the surplus liquidity is being converted into commodity. "There are apprehensions it appears to be the ground reality that surplus liquidity has been converted into commodity such as oil and foodgrain," he said.

Mr Mukherjee said such a trend was also noticed in other essential commodities.

"These are the economic factors. We may try to wish them away but we cannot because the global linkage is here..," he said

Food inflation has been in the double-digits for most of this fiscal. According to latest figures, it has, however, dipped to 9.52% for the week ended 26th February.

The overall inflation continues to be above the 8% mark since February 2010. The government hopes that it would fall to 7% by March end.

But political unrest in Middle East and North Africa resulting in high crude oil prices, have raised doubts on the projections, experts said.

The government has taken various steps in the Budget like special initiative for agriculture, supply chain management, promotion of coal chains among others, Mr Mukherjee said.

"These are intended to address issues of demand and supply constraints," he said.

He also expressed concern over the state of distribution networks in the country including the PDS (Public Distribution System) for below poverty line (BPL) families saying it was not up to the mark.

He said the government has received a number of suggestions from the expert group headed by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on revamping the PDS and added "there are some suggestions which could be implemented."


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