Write to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan complaining that the former MMRDA commissioner cleared Adarsh housing file and was also responsible for wasteful expenditure on metro and skywalk projects
This has to be a strange promotion. The Adarsh society scam, which has caused the resignation of a chief minister, has also resulted in the elevation of former commissioner of Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) Ratnakar Gaikwad to the post of the state's chief secretary. Now, activists and a section of citizens have come forward to support a representation to newly-appointed chief minister Prithviraj Chavan against the appointment of Mr Gaikwad to the key government position for his apparent involvement in the Adarsh housing scandal and wasteful expenditure in some major projects.
In a letter to Mr Chavan, Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, has said that Mr Gaikwad wasted crores of rupees on the failed skywalk project, which had to be stalled halfway. The project did not provide pedestrians any relief, and instead aggravated the traffic situation in many places. Many shopkeepers protested when the project affected their business, but suddenly found themselves behind bars for no reason.
Mr Shah wrote in his letter, "If this person has no knowledge of the grass roots of Mumbai's issues how can he handle issues of Maharashtra? How can such a person make Mumbai a global financial capital and take crucial decisions on infrastructure, when he himself cleared the file of the Adarsh housing society and was a part of conspiracy?"
Transport activist Sudhir Badami points out that Mr Gaikwad's association with the Rs700-crore skywalk project and the monorail project was far worse than the Adarsh scam itself. The 20-km monorail project, which is estimated to cost Rs2,500 crore, works out to about Rs125 crore per km, and this could have been brought down drastically to only Rs15 crore a km had Mr Gaikwad carried out feasibility studies and compared relevant project reports for a bus rapid transport system. Monorail is used worldwide mainly for sightseeing and not commuting. Mr Gaikwad has proposed 180 km monorail for commuting in Mumbai and MMR which would eventually cost Rs27,000 crore as per Mumbai Monorail Master Plan.
Shirley Singh, secretary of the Juhu Scheme Residents' Association, which has protested against the MMRDA's metro project for long, agrees with Mr Shah about Mr Gaikwad's lack of understanding of the city's problems. "The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro project which Mr Gaikwad had pushed is full of flaws," she said. "It is a burden on the city's infrastructure; he knows that, but refuses to act upon it. Most of the stations are not even two feet from houses in the locality. Underground was a more viable alternative, but he kept on saying that activists have made an issue out of privacy, which is not true. Most of the projects are long overdue and the costs have gone up. If they are not completed after so many extensions, what will he do?"
The Adarsh housing scandal was revealed through an RTI inquiry by Jogecharya Ananji, that showed Mr Gaikwad had granted the occupation certificate, despite an objection from Navy Chief Staff Officer Satish Bajaj. State human rights commissioner Subhash Lalla was forced to put in his papers over the Adarsh matter, whereas state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, who has reportedly been asked to step down in this matter, has proceeded on leave. But many are surprised that instead of investigating Mr Gaikwad's apparent role in these matters, he has been given a very important responsibility.
Further, there are some who warn that in case Mr Gaikwad is removed from the important post of chief secretary, he should not be reinstated as MMRDA commissioner. "I am sure that Mr Gaikwad will put a person of his choice as MMRDA chief, so as to enable him to push for what he thinks is right for Mumbai. The chief minister should not revert him back to MMRDA if he is removed as chief secretary. "
The wealth management arm of Kotak Mahindra Bank misled a customer into investing in its India Growth Fund at a steep premium, based on bogus claims. Kotak officials remain impassive even as the investor struggles to find buyers
It seems that customers everywhere are paying a hefty price for their blind trust in companies with strong brand images. Citibank claims it had no inkling about the Rs400-crore fraud played out by one of its employees on unsuspecting clients. Now, a customer of Kotak Mahindra Bank has learnt a harsh lesson after reposing unquestioning faith in the brand he trusted so much.
In a shocking incident, a high net-worth client of Kotak Mahindra Bank was hustled into buying a dud product for a whopping sum of Rs2.27 crore, with the bank pocketing a cool profit of Rs1 crore in the process. The wealth management arm of the bank allegedly misled the investor into putting the money in its India Growth Fund, based on bogus claims regarding its worth and taking undue advantage of the brand name to influence the buyer. The investor's repeated pleas to rectify the damage have fallen on deaf ears as Kotak officials refuse to budge.
The investor, Rajan Manchanda, had in June 2007, invested large amounts in two of Kotak's funds-Biotech fund and Realty fund. Mr Manchanda was given a detailed presentation for both these funds and he gave his acceptance to make the investments. Mr Manchanda also assisted Kotak in getting equivalent investments from his cousin for these two funds. Kotak zeroed in on him again to sell him another product-India Growth Fund.
Mr Manchanda was allegedly misled into investing in the fund by making bogus claims about its worth. Claiming that the fund was being sold to him by another investor in a distress sale at an attractive discount, the Kotak official made a strong pitch in favour of the fund. Although the investor had some reservations, he was persuaded into buying it, saying there was a rush of investors wanting the product while it was available at a discount. Kotak collected Rs2.27 crore from Mr Manchanda, who was under the impression that he was getting the fund at a discount to its value of Rs2.5 crore.
"I told him I had already made huge commitments in the two funds and would like to avoid further commitment. He insisted that I trust him and would not regret as three to four companies were going public in the next 12 months and that would more than take care of the amounts payable for the two other funds. He wanted a commitment immediately or else I would lose out. Upon his assurances and insistence I agreed to invest," said Mr Manchanda, describing his situation.
Curiously, Mr Manchanda was asked to make out the cheque in favour of Kotak Mahindra Prime Ltd, the car financing division of Kotak, and not the seller of the fund. He was told that this was due to certain 'technicalities' involved in the transfer of the fund and that Kotak was not benefiting in any way but only facilitating the transfer. He was repeatedly told that the premium on the distress sale had been paid to the seller of the fund. Surprisingly, the investor was not issued any agreement letter, despite assurances to that effect. Neither was he given any valuation report. Mr Manchanda lost trust and requested the officials to sell all the three funds. Kotak officials, however, kept on assuring him that the funds would be sold and that he should bear with them as the markets were bad.
Sensing foul play, Mr Manchanda approached the Chennai-based seller of the fund in October 2009 and found that he had been taken for a ride all along. Apparently, the seller was paid only his contribution of Rs1.25 crore, minus Rs6 lakh collected by Kotak. Mr Manchanda realised that Kotak had betrayed the trust he had reposed in them and that Kotak had fraudulently dumped onto him a worthless investment at a steep premium. It is obvious that someone at Kotak has made off with a cool Rs1 crore in the process.
Mr Manchanda also tells us that the Realty fund was sold by Kotak on his behalf at Rs1.01 crore, against his investment of Rs1.47 crore. He had to bear a loss of Rs46 lakh on the investment. Apparently, the fund was valued at 1.2 times the investment but sold at a 35% discount to the actual investment. The Biotech fund, supposedly valued at twice the investment, cannot find a buyer, claim Kotak officials. The India Growth Fund is also failing to attract any buyers.
The investor now finds himself in a deep hole as his repeated attempts to get the attention of the top authorities at Kotak have taken him nowhere. Shockingly, every time he finds himself being redirected to the very people who sold him the fund in the first place!
Only recently did the investor get a reply from the wealth management arm on behalf of Uday Kotak, stating that he was not duped in any way. Even Moneylife's attempts to get answers have not yielded any response yet.
The investor has also lodged a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), but has not made any progress here too.
The domestic market opened soft this morning tracking subdued global cues. The absence of any major triggers and a sell-off by institutional investors resulted in the key indices falling for the second straight day
The market opened lower tracking its weak Asian peers that started in the red on lower commodity stocks. Banking, realty and metal stocks dragged the market lower in early trade. The indices traded in a narrow range till noon when another bout of selling by institutional investors sent the market further down to touch the day’s low in the post-noon session.
However, the key indices pared some of the losses, but ended in the red for the second day in a row.
We expected the Sensex to take support at around 20,400 but the market continued to remain weak. The market closed at 20,301.10, 0.96% down (197.62 points). This is the maximum decline in the Sensex since the rally began on 10 December 2010. The market opened up, with a small gap of 11.23 points, at 20,509.95 today. This was the high for the day. After that, the Sensex continuously fell and reached a new five-day low at 20,243.95.
The market has broken the support of 20,400. The next support lies at around 20,200. Of course, a two-day decline in an ongoing rally is normal. However, if the market remains weak and closes below 20,000 we will have to be prepared for a substantial decline.
The Nifty closed at 6,079.80, down 66.55 points (1.08%). The index touched a high of 6,141.35 and a low of 6,062.35.
The market breadth continued to be negative for the second day. The Sensex had 24 losers against six advancing stocks, while the Nifty closed with 38 losers and 12 gainers. Among the broader markets, the BSE Mid-cap index declined 1.27% and the BSE Small-cap index was down 1.02%.
The top Sensex gainers were Hindustan Unilever (up 1.43%), ITC (up 1.38%), Hindalco Industries (up 1.36%), TCS (up 1.25%) and Tata Power (up 1.17%). The losers list had names like Bajaj Auto (down 3.69%), Hero Honda (down 3.60%), DLF (down 3.28%), ICICI Bank (down 3.08%) and Reliance Communications (down 2.81%).
The sectoral space was dominated by losers. BSE Bankex (down 2.19%), BSE Realty (down 2.03%) and BSE Auto (down 1.95%) were the top losers. BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.72%) and BSE IT (up 0.34%) were the only gainers in the sectoral space.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today said that merchant bankers cannot refer clients for alternative investments—such as corporate deposits and real estate—beyond the securities market. The regulator announced this while rejecting a plea by Barclays Securities. Merchant bankers act as intermediaries between entities seeking to raise capital through the sale of securities and the purchasers of these securities.
Markets in Asia ended mixed as material stocks edged lower on a fall in prices of gold and crude. On Tuesday, February crude oil futures shed $2.17 to $89.38 per barrel, the lowest settlement since 20th December, while spot gold fell more than $30 to below $1,400 a troy ounce. Profit booking after the recent rally across the region led some of the exchanges lower.
The Hang Seng gained 0.38%, the Jakarta Composite rose 0.63%, the KLSE Composite surged 0.92% and the Straits Times added 0.12%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.49%, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.17%, the Seoul Composite shed 0.12% and the Taiwan Weighted tanked 1.68%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs717.76 crore on Tuesday. Domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs491.57 crore.
Fast moving consumer goods major GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) (up 0.98%) has announced its entry into the Indian oral care market through its global toothpaste brand ‘Sensodyne’ with plans to make it a Rs150-crore brand in the next five years. Through Sensodyne, the biggest brand of GSKCH globally worth around $750 million, the company expects to capture up to 5% of the estimated Rs 1,850-crore Indian toothpaste market within the next three to five years.
Pharma company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (up 0.98%) will contest the patent infringement case filed against it by global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer over its cholesterol lowering drug atorvastatin, said a company spokesperson today.
On 27th December last year, Pfizer had moved to the US District Court for the District of Delaware against Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Dr Reddy's Laboratories Inc for infringement of Pfizer’s crystalline atorvastatin patent.
Jindal Saw (up 7.24%), an OP Jindal group company, has inked a lease pact with Rajasthan government to mine iron ore for 30 years from a deposit containing an estimated 180 million tonnes of resources. The total area covered under the lease is 1556.78 hectares and based on the initial estimates, the mines have about 180 million tonnes of reserves of various categories of iron ore.