The CBI, in its plea for extension of the remand, said the duo needed to be confronted with some more documents recovered by the investigating agency
New Delhi: Former telecom minister A Raja was today sent to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) remand for three more days by a Delhi court which also extended the custody of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa for four days in the 2G spectrum case after the CBI said it wanted to confront them on the money trail, reports PTI.
"Considering the enormity of crime, complex and complicated nature of the investigation, voluminous documents involved in the case, I find that the prayer for further custodial interrogation of the accused persons is justified," special CBI judge OP Saini said.
During the hearing on its plea for extension of the remand for Mr Raja and Mr Balwa, the CBI said the duo needed to be confronted with some more documents recovered by the investigating agency.
"They (Mr Raja and Mr Balwa) are further required to be put under sustained custodial interrogation and confronted with each other on the trail of money as well as with other suspects and witnesses so that the real facts and elements of criminal conspiracy including omission and commission committed in this case, can be unearthed and taken to light." the CBI said in its remand application.
The CBI initially had sought only two days" custody for Mr Raja but the court remanded him in the agency's custody for three more days after the former minister's counsel pointed out to the judge that it will be a national holiday on account of Milad-un-Nabi on February 16 and Mr Raja may remain in custody for an additional day.
Opposing the CBI's plea for extension of Mr Balwa's custody, his counsel Vijay Aggarwal contended before the court that his client was merely engaged in bonafide commercial transactions and had not violated any law.
"The CBI has not put forward any specific evidence (of Balwa's criminal culpability) for seeking extension of his remand and has made only a general statement without any substance," Mr Aggarwal said.
The CBI, however, pointed out to the court that the agency has added two more sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to cheating and forgery in the case against the accused.
"While investigation is in progress, things are coming to light and so sections 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery) of IPC have been added," senior public prosecutor Akhilesh, appearing for the CBI, said.
While seeking extension of the custody, the CBI said the case was "complicated and highly technical".
"It is an important case. Vastness of the documents and ramifications of this case are much wider and so we need further custodial interrogation of the accused," the CBI said.
With the court remanding Mr Raja to three more days of CBI's custody, the former minister will be completing the maximum number of 14 days for which any investigating agency can keep an accused in its custody for questioning.
After spending 14 days in the custody of any investigating agency, the accused is sent to judicial custody.
Mr Raja was arrested on 2nd February and remanded in CBI custody initially for five days. On 8th February, he was again remanded in CBI custody for two more days after the agency told the court that he was not cooperating during questioning and was being evasive.
The former minister's custody was again extended by two more days on 10th February on a CBI plea.
The Nifty has to cross 5,555 and the Sensex 18,500 for the rally to continue
Adding to the gains that accrued on Friday, the market started the day today on a strong note, tracking its Asian peers, which were trading higher as tensions eased in the Middle East. Auto, metal, banking and realty counters witnessed demand in early trade. Inching northwards in morning trade, the market got a leg-up following the marginal easing of the wholesale price index (WPI) inflation for January.
The key indices were range-bound in afternoon trade, but buying support propelled them upwards, ensuring a close near the day's highs.
As we suspected on Friday, the market ended with solid gains today. The Sensex was up 474 points at 18,202 and the Nifty ended 146 points higher at 5,456. This is the second highest daily gain on the Sensex (2.67%) and the Nifty (2.75%) since 11 May 2010.
The Nifty opened with an upward bias of 30 points at 5,340. The Sensex and the Nifty both made new six-day intra-day highs (starting 7 February 2011) at 18,228 and 5,464 respectively. The Nifty was able to break the resistance of 5,370. It managed to cross the 10-day moving average, as well, confirming a short-term uptrend.
Above this level, the market has to cross many hurdles to be in the bull market orbit again. Nifty faces resistance at 5,480 and 5,555. If these levels are crossed in the next three days, the market will move up substantially towards 5,700 and 5,800. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 1529:220.
The market breadth on the Sensex and Nifty was tilted towards the gainers. The Sensex closed with 29 stocks in the green against one in the declining list. The Nifty returned with 47 advancing stocks and three stocks in the negative list. The broader indices outperformed the Sensex today. The BSE Mid-cap index surged 3.52% while the BSE Small-cap index jumped 3.94%.
All sectoral gauges closed higher with the BSE Capital Goods index (up 5.26%) leading the gainers. This was followed by BSE Auto (up 3.79%), BSE Metal (up 3.53%), BSE Consumer Durables (up 3.40%) and BSE Bankex (up 3.37%).
Jaiprakash Associates (up 6.79%), Larsen & Toubro (up 6.70%), Tata Motors (up 5.60%), BHEL (up 4.56%) and Jindal Steel (up 4.44%) were the major gainers in the Sensex list. On the flip side, DLF (down 0.38%) was the lone loser.
The wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation declined marginally to 8.23% in January from 8.43% in the previous month, it was announced today. Prices of certain commodities like wheat, pulses and sugar are reported to have eased, but essential items like onions and other vegetables continued to be dear. The headline inflation based on wholesale prices has remained above the 8% mark since January last year.
Even though inflation has eased marginally from December, the Reserve Bank of India is likely to take further policy-tightening steps in its monetary review due next month.
Markets in Asia ended in the green on a less-than-expected decline in Japan's gross domestic product for the December quarter and easing of tensions in the Middle East. Chinese shares extended gains after the customs bureau said that January exports rose 38% from a year earlier, while imports surged by 51%, pointing to a rise in economic activity in the second largest economy.
The Shanghai Composite jumped 2.52%, the Hang Seng advanced 1.28%, the Jakarta Composite rose 0.74%, the KLSE Composite gained 0.72%, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.13%, the Straits Times gained 0.88%, the Seoul Composite surged 1.89% and the Taiwan Weighted ended 0.88% higher today.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers on Friday, offloading stocks worth Rs537.71 crore. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers, purchasing equities worth Rs519.67 crore.
Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today said Coal India (CIL) (down 0.51%) will set up 20 new washeries with a combined capacity of 111 million tonnes to help realise a better price for its produce.
CIL currently operates 17 coal washeries, out of which 11 are coking coal and the remaining are non-coking coal washeries, with a total capacity of 39.40 million tonnes per annum.
Rain Commodities (up 4.25%) has taken over Birla Cement & Industries from the Yash Birla Group. As a result of this acquisition, Birla Cement & Industries has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. Birla Cement holds certain limestone mining leases in Andhra Pradesh.
Indian Overseas Bank (up 5.35%) is looking to enter the African market for which it has initiated the process. The bank is also planning to convert its representative offices in Dubai and Guangzhou in China into full service branches, as part of its efforts to expand its foreign operations.
Karnataka has acquired around 800 acres of land near Bellary, out of the required 4,000 acres for ArcelorMittal’s project—for which the steelmaker has already deposited Rs300 crore. The State government expects to procure the rest of the land over the next four to five months
Finally, the world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal's dream plan of setting up a greenfield project in India, has started materialising, as Karnataka has begun acquiring land for the project.
"The State government has acquired around 800 acres for the project so far, and the rest of the land will be acquired over the next four to five months," a highly-placed source in the Karnataka government, who is familiar with the development, told Moneylife, preferring anonymity.
This information (of the State acquiring land) was confirmed by Mr Satish (who goes by only one name), who is joint director, Karnataka Udyog Mitra, the Government of Karnataka organisation which promotes and facilitate investments, and assists investors. He told Moneylife, "The land acquisition is in progress."
The company requires around 4,000 acres for its proposed six-million-tonnes-a-year integrated steel plant and a 750-MW captive power plant. ArcelorMittal plans to invest around Rs30,000 crore for the project.
Last month, BS Yeddyurappa, chief minister, Karnataka, offered two sites for ArcelorMittal's proposed project. Now Bellary has been selected, according to information received by Moneylife.
"We have started acquiring land at Bellary. Notifications and other initial processes have been completed and compensations are being paid to farmers and landowners," said Mr Satish.
"The company has deposited around Rs300 crore for the land acquisition," he added.
After several failed attempts to set up integrated projects in Orissa and Jharkhand, the LN Mittal-controlled company choose Karnataka, which possesses rich iron ore deposits, to set up its plant.
"The construction work will start once the land-acquisition process is completed," added the government source.
The company had plans to set up two 6 million tonnes per annum steel plants in both Orissa and Jharkhand-with an investment of Rs1,000 billion-to tap surging demand, mainly from the auto and construction sectors, for steel in India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, ArcelorMittal's plans could not be executed as landowners refused to surrender their lands for the projects in both Orissa and Jharkhand.
In fact, most steelmakers' plans to set up greenfield projects in Orissa and Jharkhand have remained unfulfilled, due to stiff opposition from locals and environment clearances.
Korean major POSCO will also set up its second integrated steel plant in Karnataka and it has already identified the location.
"POSCO has chosen Halligudi in Gadag district and till today (it has) deposited Rs60 crore," Mr Satish told Moneylife.
The South Korean steel major will acquire 3,000 acres of land and will invest around Rs30,000 crore for the six-million-tonnes-a-year plant.
Recently, the Korean major had received a green signal from the MoEF to build a 12-million-tonne-a-year steel plant in Orissa.
Industry experts feel that the participation of the global steel companies is actively needed to achieve the country's target of producing 120 million tonnes of steel per annum by the end of 2012. According to the World Steel Association, whose members produce around 85% of the world's steel, India produced 66.8 million tonnes in the last year. Indian steelmakers expect that the country's steel demand will rise by 9% to 10% in the coming years.