The department of justice submitted that though the copy of forwarding letters are available in its record, to club those copies for the last three years would be a time consuming task
In a landmark order, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the law ministry to disclose the forwarding letters it has received, attached with the complaints filed against the retired and sitting judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
The CIC’s order came while it was hearing a Right to Information (RTI) plea filed by Delhi-based activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal. In his application, dated 18th May 2011, Mr Agrawal had sought complete information on the complaints received against retired and sitting chief justices/judges of higher courts, including those of the Supreme Court and high courts, in last three years by the department of justice, under the law ministry.
Information Commissioner Sushma Singh, while hearing the plea held that, “The request is reasonable.”
The department of justice submitted that though the copy of forwarding letters are available in its record, to club those copies for the last three years would be a time consuming task since the information would be in different files. However, the commission observed that Mr Agrawal is no longer seeking copies of complaints; he only wants copies of forwarding letters sent by the department.
The ministry agreed to provide the information on such forwarding letters. However, it expressed that it is “a time consuming task and it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority.”
Mr Agrawal, considering the ministry’s view, requested that he should at least be provided with copies of forwarding letters from the past one year.
CIC directed immediate disclosure of such letters dating back to last one year and asked the officials to trace records for three years and provide it to the applicant. It also directed the ministry to, “properly maintain their records in such a manner as can easily be retrieved whenever information is sought under the RTI Act.”
According to PTI, the ministry had earlier claimed that it cannot provide copies of complaints because these complaints are forwarded to Chief Justice of India and chief justices of high courts in the respective cases. It had also said that the ministry officials do not keep a record of these complaints.
The Enforcement Directorate said it is awaiting CBI to complete investigation and submit charge sheet and it will then take a decision on registration of FIR and arrest of accused
Mumbai: Maharashtra's former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and 13 others have been slapped with a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for their alleged involvement in the Adarsh housing scam, reports PTI.
"An Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) has been registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on 5th March against 14 persons. The 14 persons are the same who have been named as accused by the Central Bureay of Investigation (CBI) in their FIR," senior counsel RV Desai appearing for ED told the Bombay High Court on Monday.
A division bench of Justices SA Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar were hearing a bunch of petitions filed by social activists Pravin Wategaonkar and Simpreet Singh seeking ED to register case and for High Court to supervise the investigations of CBI and ED.
"The accused persons got clearances to construct Adarsh illegally and obtained flats at a very low price compared to market value. The accused projected tainted property as untainted. Prima facie it constitutes offence under section 3 of PMLA," the ECIR states.
The High Court took the ED to task for the way it has dealt with the case. "In December last year the court had asked ED to make a statement on applicability on provisions of PMLA. But even today the agency is not able to make a conclusive statement on PMLA," Justice Bobade said.
"You (ED) say investigation has been initiated with registration of ECIR. So you must be having some material before you at this stage. On the basis of that material you should be able to make statement on when you will register an FIR in the case and when you will arrest the accused persons," the bench said.
Adv Desai told the court that the agency needs to find out if the accused persons had procured flats in the Adarsh society through funds which were proceeds of crime.
"We are awaiting CBI to complete its investigation and submit its charge sheet. ED will then take a decision on registration of FIR and arrest of accused," Adv Desai said.
CBI informed the court that it would complete its probe by 15th June and file its charge sheet thereafter. The court has adjourned the matter till 18th June.
The ED had earlier issued summons to the members of the Society directing them to furnish information regarding purchase of flats in the 31-storey housing society in south Mumbai and mode of payment.
Those arrested include Society's secretary RC Thakur, retired brigadier MM Wanchoo, former Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and Pradeep Vyas, former collector of Mumbai.
The CBI, which registered a case in January last year against 14 people, has so far arrested nine persons including IAS officers Jairaj Phatak and Ramanand Tiwari, retired Major generals AR Kumar and TK Kaul and PV Deshmukh, a former deputy secretary in the Urban department.
The remaining five accused are Mr Chavan, former principal secretary to the chief minister Subhash Lala, retired Col TK Sinha, retired brigadier PK Rampal and retired deputy GOC RC Sharma.
While there is huge demand for diesel cars, Maruti Suzuki cannot produce enough and what it is producing (petrol cars) in bulk, it cannot sell without discounts
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country largest carmaker, reported 29% drop in its full year net profit due to adverse currency movement, higher discounts offered on its vehicles and increased commodity prices. The overall slowdown in the car market, including the skew towards diesel cars, also affected performance, the company said.
Rising fuel costs, especially increasing petrol prices are making it difficult for buyers to opt for cars that run of petrol. Despite the new found success with diesel engines, Maruti Suzuki is still known as petrol carmaker. The company produces about 16 lakh vehicles every year, out of which diesel cars are around 29% with the rest being petrol cars. And this is the cost the company had to pay during FY2011-12. There is a waiting period of over 4-5 months for Maruti Suzuki's diesel cars like Dzire and Swift. Even its newly launched multi-utility vehicle (MUV) Ertiga has witnessed an overwhelming response for diesel based engine (about 80%) from the total bookings of 22,000.
During the year, Maruti Suzuki's petrol car sales fell 14% while diesel car sales increased by 37%. Falling sales in petrol cars is making the carmaker to spend more money by way of huge discounts and advertisements. During the fourth quarter of FY11-12, Maruti Suzuki offered an average discount of Rs13,439 per vehicle compared with Rs12,000 in third quarter.
Looking at the auto market, there is no doubt that this trend is likely to remain through next few years, unless the government decides to completely do away with the subsidy on diesel for cars. But this also could pose problems for the carmaker as the removal of the subsidy may affect diesel car sales.
In a research note, Emkay Global Financial Services said, “Outlook for FY12-13 continues to remain subdued for petrol vehicles driven by rising cost of ownership and increase in fuel prices. Maruti Suzuki is taking steps to lower cost of ownership by offering exchange bonuses, targeting customers with lower usage and considering interest subventions."
The company, a unit of Japanese Suzuki Motor Corp, has been trying to focus on diesel cars, but due to production constraints could not do so. Maruti Suzuki has already invested around Rs1,700 crore to increase its diesel engine capacity, however, the additions would be coming on stream only during first half of next financial year (FY13-14). At present, Maruti Suzuki's diesel engine capacity is 2.5 lakh units per year, which will go up to 4 lakh units in FY13, including 3 lakh from Suzuki Powertrain India and 1 lakh from Fiat. It plans to add another 3 lakh units per year from its Gurgaon plant. However, the new diesel engine plant in Gurgaon is expected to come on stream in first half of FY13-14 with a capacity of 1.5 lakh units and rest 1.5 lakh units by FY14-15.
While the capacity expansion looks good for future use, one fails to understand why the carmaker could not take a call on increasing diesel engine capacity earlier. In current scenario, where there is huge demand for diesel cars, there is a downside risk as well. Last week, the union government had agreed in principle to deregulate diesel prices. If the proposal goes through, then both petrol and diesel prices would be linked with the market and oil marketing companies (OMCs) would be able to decide the prices. Based on the current prices of crude oil, OMCs require the prices of petrol and diesel to be increased by Rs8 per litre and Rs15 a litre, respectively.
If at all the diesel prices are deregulated then the cost of ownership of a vehicle would be more or less on par with petrol cars. In such case, it would be difficult for any automaker to take firm call on whether to focus on petrol vehicles or diesel ones. This also is the dilemma, Maruti Suzuki must be facing. However, it should be noted that the company is paying big price for not thinking about future. While there is huge demand for diesel cars, the company cannot produce enough and what it is producing (petrol cars), it cannot sell without discounts.
"We expect demand for petrol vehicles to remain subdued in FY12-13 thus leading to higher overall discounts compared with last year and additional promotional and incentive schemes to drive sales. We continue to have concerns with un-hedged currency exposure beyond first half of FY13 and demand polarity towards diesel vehicles," added Emkay Global.
Maruti Suzuki closed Monday 2% down to Rs1,369 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex ended marginally up at 17,318.