Bonds, Currencies & Commodities
Crude Oil to Natural Gas Ratio

In the Moneylife issue dated 24 September 2009, we had written about crude oil to natural gas ratio hitting its highest level indicating that oil is vastly expensive relative to natural gas. The conclusion was that either natural gas would go up sharply or oil would fall. Since then, natural gas has shot up 62%, while oil has been weak. Natural gas prices surged mainly because gas supply was expected to be in line with demand, resulting from the brisk pullback in US drilling activity. The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the US has decreased 56% since last year.
 

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SFIO to be armed with powers to interrogate, seize papers: Govt
The Indian government is likely to arm the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), an investigating wing of the Corporate Affairs Ministry, with powers to interrogate and seize documents among others, following the complaints that it faced problems in probing the multi-crore Satyam accounting fraud, reports PTI.
 
The move comes amid requests from the SFIO functionaries who wanted requisite powers to call for documents and question people to effectively probe grave corporate frauds.
 
The new Company Bill, 2009, which is currently being looked into by a Parliamentary Standing Committee, is expected to provide statutory status and powers to the SFIO like any other investigating agency.
 
Speaking to PTI, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, said, "SFIO requires some more teeth, some more investigation powers to be given to them and other powers that go with investigations."
 
Pointing out that the SFIO would be given statutory and legal powers in line with the Vepa Kamesan Committee report, the minister said, "The biggest problem with us is that we can neither do requisition nor could we keep the records."
 
"We certainly could not interrogate. We certainly could not investigate. That is the problem...I think that (committee recommendations) would be taken care of in the bill.”
 
Admitting that SFIO's expertise was stretched to the last limit during the Satyam probe, Khurshid said lack of manpower was a "handicap" at the beginning of the probe.
 
The SFIO had already submitted a 14,000-page report to the government on the Satyam fraud and is currently probing the issues concerning siphoning off of funds by Satyam promoters including its founder chairman B Ramalinga Raju.
 
"Lack of manpower has not affected Satyam investigations so much but lack of manpower has caused consequential problems because everything was concentrated on Satyam. It was an important case for the country and for us.”
 
"Therefore we have to put every resource that was available to SFIO essentially towards looking after Satyam. We had to station people in Hyderabad. We had to look at various leads available. The personnel issue is largely taken care of and resolved," he said.
 

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Fraudsters want to give your IT tax refund via mail!
It is probably a test mail as yet, but many of us received a missive, ostensibly from the Indian Income Tax department offering online refund on tax paid. The fake email has an authentic looking Ashoka emblem. The email id was a giveaway.
 
Now the Indian Income-Tax Department has been encouraging tax payers to file their returns online, email fraud is bound to proliferate and trap the gullible.
 
A mail which bears an email id like this, "Income Tax Department of India <[email protected]>" contains some text message that is nothing but an image. When you click on this image it takes you to a website mail.fasteners.ru, which is a suspected, fraudulent site from Russia.
 
According to information from Whois database, Fasteners.ru's IP address is 212.119.32.11 and its reverse is, well….indian.oss.ru! Also, the state of this website is mentioned as "registered, delegated, unverified" on Whois.
 
The image, the Indian national emblem and other details are all lifted from incometaxindia.gov.in, the original website of IT Dept. It is clear that this is only a test mail and is bound to be refined in future.
 
The mail addresses you as "Dear Income Tax Department of India customer"; however, our own I-T Dept refers you as "Dear Taxpayer" and not as customer.
 
Also, while we all Indian use Rs or Rupees before the amount, the fraudsters use this after the amount, like 820.50 Rs. Even the signature is quite different, it (the fraudster mail) says "Thank You, Income Tax Department of India Online Department", and I am still looking for someone, who has received a "thank you" from the IT Department!
 
One last point, the authentic email id or server, our own I-T Dept uses is incometaxindia.gov.in so the mail id would be like [email protected] and not like "Income Tax Department of India <[email protected]>".
 
If you receive such mails, do not pay any heed and simply mark it as "spam" and press delete.
-Yogesh Sapkale [email protected]
 

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