CBI registers case in Tatra-BEML truck supply deal with army

CBI director AP Singh had examined a report forwarded by one of the joint directors of the agency who had opined that a case could be made out and a thorough investigation was required

New Delhi: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Indian premier investigative agency, on Friday registered a case in connection with the supply of all-terrain Tatra trucks through state-owned BEML to the army and called for questioning Vectra group chairman Ravi Rishi who is a majority stake holder in Tatra, reports PTI.

CBI sources said British national Mr Rishi, who is in the national capital for the Defence Expo, has been called for questioning in the connection with the alleged irregularities in the deal.

CBI director AP Singh had examined a report forwarded by one of the joint directors of the agency who had opined that a case could be made out and a thorough investigation was required, the sources said.

The deal came under scanner after army chief General VK Singh had alleged that he was offered a Rs14 crore bribe to clear a file related to purchase of trucks.

The defence ministry has sent a reference to the CBI seeking a probe in the allegations. However, the agency is waiting for a complaint from Gen Singh before initiating a probe into his allegations.

The sources said based on the reference, two separate cases could be registered by the agency-one related to the deal and another to the alleged bribery offer.

Reacting to alleged involvement of agents and lobbyists in placement of orders for the Tatra trucks, state-owned BEML chief VRS Natarajan has said, "In last 26 years, from 1986 onwards, BEML assembled manufactured, supplied 7,000 Tatra trucks. All of them have been done on single nomination basis, single inquiry basis.

"This type of equipment nobody in world makes, because of its superior technological features. When I am the single vendor and there is no competition, there is no influence required," he said.

The name of Tatra and Bharat Earth Movers was taken by the army in a press release issued by it on 5th March, alleging that retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh had offered a bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra.

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NSE to launch corporate debt ETF

The new product is in line with the Government's emphasis on expanding and deepening the corporate debt market. It will help investors put money in a basket of corporate bonds, thereby getting the benefit of a portfolio for investment, a source said

The National Stock Exchange plans to introduce a 'Corporate Debt Exchange Traded Fund' or ETF in this calendar year, reports said.

ETFs are essentially index funds that are listed and traded on exchanges. In this sense, an ETF is a basket of stocks or assets such as gold or even money market instruments. Its trading value is based on the net asset value of the underlying assets that it represents.

The new product is in line with the Government's emphasis on expanding and deepening the corporate debt market. It will help investors put money in a basket of corporate bonds, thereby getting the benefit of a portfolio for investment, a source said.

ETFs have gained wider acceptance as financial instruments whose unique advantages over mutual funds have caught the eye of many an investor. Various mutual funds provide ETF products that attempt to replicate the indices on NSE to provide returns that closely correspond to the total returns of the securities represented in the index.

Presently, NSE provides ETF in four different categories - equity, debt, gold and world indices. There is no exchange fee on debt and world indices ETFs, while charges vary on gold and equity ETFs.

Gold ETF attracts an exchange fee of Re1 for a lakh, while equity ETF is charged between Rs3-Rs3.25 a lakh. There are indications that the corporate debt ETF may get fee waiver too.

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Banks haven't made significant penetration in mobile banking: RBI

“Banks have not really made a significant penetration even among their existing customers to extend mobile banking services,” RBI deputy governor KC Chakrabarty said at an International Banking Summit in Mumbai

The Reserve Bank said that banks have not really made a significant penetration to extend mobile banking services, even among their existing customers.

"Banks have not really made a significant penetration even among their existing customers to extend mobile banking services," RBI deputy governor KC Chakrabarty said at an International Banking Summit in Mumbai.

"The most important concern is that there is a significant percentage of financially excluded population and the potential of the mobile phone to extend them financial services is still to be tapped," Chakrabarty said.

The RBI has always been conscious of the need to bring every citizen of the country within the ambit of the banking system.

However, he said, "Presently 65 banks have been approved for conduct of mobile banking out of which 47 banks have commenced offering these services."

According to the banking regulator, more than 2.8 million transactions for close to Rs1,96.12 crore were transacted during February 2012 - a 300% increase in volume and more than 200% in value terms as compared to 7 lakh transactions for close to Rs61.62 crore during February 2011.

"A little over 1.22 crore bank customers have so far registered for mobile banking services. These numbers are not really heartening," he said, adding that only 55% of the people of India have deposit accounts.

Appreciating the difficulties of banks to viably operate bank branches in every village, Chakrabarty said, "We had permitted them to appoint business correspondents (BCs) to address this."

On demand from the industry, he added, we have also permitted "for profit" companies to be appointed as BCs, which would enable a healthy fusion of the expertise of banks and the communications and agency of non-banking network.

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