Don’t destroy documents till disclosure is decided: CIC

The chief information commissioner has said that if there is a case pending under the RTI Act then the documents should not be destroyed till a final decision is taken on the disclosure

The chief information commissioner (CIC) has directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) not to destroy documents, whose disclosure is yet to be decided by it, even if there is a policy of disposing them after a specified period, reports PTI.

CIC Wajahat Habibullah said during a hearing that the documents sought by Right to Information (RTI) applicants should not be destroyed till a decision is made on their disclosure.

The case is related to Maj Gen (Retd) VK Singh who, through his RTI application in 2008, wanted to know from the CVC the status of his complaint highlighting the alleged corruption in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

The CVC said in its reply that his complaint was “filed” and no file notings were available.

Author a book ‘India's External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing’, Mr Singh said it is not possible that no records of deliberations over the complaint were available and submitted before the Commission and that he wanted to inspect the records.

The CVC representative at the hearing before the transparency panel said yesterday that it may be possible that records may have been destroyed as the Commission has a policy to destroy records of “filed” complaints which are more than a year old. Hence, inspection may not be possible.

The CVC representative said that she would check the status and inform Mr Singh about it.

Mr Habibullah said, “If there is a case pending under the RTI Act then the documents should not be destroyed till a final decision is taken on the disclosure.”

Mr Singh, who alleged several instances of corruption in India’s external intelligence agency RAW in his book, has been facing trial for alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act.
 

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Core infra sector grows by 7.2% in March

The key sectors—crude, petroleum refinery products, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel—also showed marked improvement in March over the month-ago period

Six core infrastructure industries grew by a healthy 7.2% in March against 3.3% in the year-ago period, reflecting firm industrial recovery, reports PTI.

The key sectors—crude, petroleum refinery products, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel—also showed marked improvement in March when compared to the 4.7% growth in February.

Finished steel with 9.2% expansion led the recovery, reversing a negative 1.8% in March last year.

Coal, electricity and cement grew by 7.8% each against 5.3%, 6.3% and 10.1%, respectively, over last year.

Crude oil production went up by 3.5% from a negative 2.3%. However, petroleum refinery products showed a dismal performance with 0.4% contraction in March 2010 over a positive 3.3% growth a year ago.

For the financial year 2009-10, the core sectors which have 26.7% combined weightage in the overall industrial production, registered a growth of 5.5% in April-March 2009-10 against 3% in the same period last year, an official statement said today.
 

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SC ticks off NSE; Exchange and MD Ravi Narain face criminal case

The Supreme Court has passed strictures dismissing NSE’s appeal in the matter of harassment and defamation of a former NSE employee. The Exchange and its top brass will now face a criminal case in the Mumbai Metropolitan Court

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) and its top brass are finally going to face a criminal case in the Mumbai Metropolitan Court, after the Supreme Court dismissed its petition requesting to quash the orders of the Bombay High Court in the case of its former employee A Sebastin.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had dismissed a criminal application filed by the NSE for quashing and setting aside proceedings pending before the Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate. After losing appeal—and face—in the Supreme Court, the NSE & its managing director Ravi Narain will now face the lower court in a case of criminal defamation brought by Mr Sebastin. A Supreme Court bench comprising Justice P Sathasivam and Justice HL Dattu, said that the High Court had earlier granted one opportunity to NSE to tender an apology but it did not do so and the bourse should be ready to face action. “It is high time that the institution and the management realise the reputation of its employees,” the apex court said.

Mr Sebastin, a compliance officer with the NSE, had resigned from the bourse in October 2008. Later he joined Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) and came under a nasty personal attack by the NSE. On 6 April 2009, the NSE issued a ‘public notice’ in all leading business newspapers with the former employee Mr Sebastin’s photograph, announcing that anyone dealing with the “said Mr A Sebastin” would do so at their own risk. Normally, such notices are published only if an employee is guilty of financial fraud or a serious betrayal of trust. However, there is no such mention. Instead, the NSE issued a clarification in response to media queries, saying that Mr Sebastin’s “services were terminated” because he “had not met the company’s requirements.”

It also indicated, without being specific, that the employee had failed to complete “severance” formalities. (For more details of the case that is fast acquiring notoriety see “The Sebastin Case” below).

After Mr Sebastin filed a case against the NSE and its managing director Ravi Narain in the Mumbai Metropolitan Court over alleged character assassination, NSE approached the Bombay High Court for quashing and setting aside proceedings pending before the Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate. The High Court dismissed the application and in an order issued on 25 March 2010, said: “If an apology is published in the same newspapers in the same manner, it will give an end to the criminal litigation.”

While Mr Sebastin was ready to accept an apology and consequently to end the criminal litigation, an ego-driven, powerful and extremely wealthy NSE, on the other hand, was not ready. On 25th March, the NSE filed an affidavit in the HC stating that it is not possible for them to publish a fresh apology. Senior counsel Shirish Gupte, appearing for the NSE, reiterated the contentions which were made earlier and added that NSE had no intention to make any imputations on the character or efficiency of the complainant.

The HC specifically asked NSE whether it had published the clarification by way of an advertisement, as was done with the notice which is the subject-matter of the complaint, and also whether such a prominent notice, along with the photograph, has also been published in case of other employees who have either resigned or who are terminated from the services of the Exchange. The Exchange replied in the negative.

The Court order then said: “At least prima facie, the very fact that the complainant has been singled out for issuing such an advertisement along with a photograph and, further, the fact that the applicants themselves received various queries with respect to the said advertisement, would prima facie establish that the said advertisement has adversely affected the reputation of the present complainant."

Moneylife had reported (http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/4801.html) how the High Court dismissed the Exchange's appeal while passing strictures against the NSE. And how an exchange with loads of funds at its disposal, can try every method in the book to bully, harass and defame a diligent and senior officer. Since the Exchange is flush with funds, derived from profits of a well-preserved, near-monopoly commercial position, it can afford to fight a case right up to the Supreme Court. However, the question is whether this was necessary and whether it merely reflects its bullying antics, as has now been proved by the High Court and Supreme Court judgements.

The NSE has, over the years, created a perception of being a government entity but runs a virtual monopoly and operates an expensive private-sector set up. The Exchange's non-promoter executives, managing director Ravi Narain and deputy managing director Chitra Ramakrishna, earned a gross annual income of Rs6.89 crore and Rs4.21 crore, respectively, besides other perks in 2008-09. The salary of Mr Narain was more than that of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) chief, Xavier Roulet (around Rs5.6 crore), and equal to that of the NYSE Euronext chief, Jean-Françoise Theodore (around Rs7 crore). Comparatively, NSE’s supposed competitor Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) chief executive Madhu Kannan earned a gross income of Rs1.6 crore in the same period. Now, with the Supreme Court dismissing its appeal, the NSE and its top brass, including managing director Ravi Narain, have no other option but to face a criminal case in a lower court.{break}

The Sebastin Case

In October 2008, A Sebastin, a compliance officer in NSE, resigned from his job and joined MCX. On 6 April 2009, the NSE issued a ‘public notice’ in all leading business newspapers with the employee’s photograph announcing that anyone dealing with the “said Mr A Sebastin” would do so at their own risk.

Normally, such notices are published only if an employee is guilty of financial fraud or a serious betrayal of trust. However, there is no such mention. Instead, the NSE issued a clarification in response to media queries, saying that Mr Sebastin’s “services were terminated” because he ”had not met the company’s requirements.” It also indicated, without being specific, that the employee had failed to complete “severance” formalities.

Mr Sebastin, however, has evidence of a formal handover of charge, an exit interview and an email assurance that he would be relieved. He says that the public notice was issued after he sent a legal notice to the NSE on 4 April 2009, demanding severance benefits like Provident Fund (PF) and gratuity.

Holding back PF is illegal, so the NSE reportedly credited his PF account immediately after he served the legal notice but simultaneously issued him a termination letter followed by the public notice, almost six months after he had quit the Exchange.

When we published the case under the title of "Vindictive Action?" on our website www.suchetadalal.com, it received (so far) 28 comments from readers. One reader, Mr Golak, said: “NSE should try to find out why NSE ex-employees are willing to join MCX-SX and sort out the problems rather than take this kind of vindictive action. As an organisation, it has failed to come out of the whims of a few people who run the exchange on their own sweet terms.”

Another reader, Satish Swaminathan, commented, "If there is attrition, then the HR should be pulled up for explanations and probably try to get to the root cause and address it. I also fail to understand how the NSE is proposing to beat its competition by stopping people and being vindictive when they join a competing firm.”

“It is highly unethical behaviour by a highly professional company like NSE. Such a step by any company cannot be justifiable as employees are a company’s human assets and not physical assets,” said SS, another reader.

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COMMENTS

Vaibhav Dhoka

6 years ago

Mr Sebastian case is eyeopener for financial system fraud and bullying he will be known as Anna Hazare of financial misdeeds.

Panidarajan a

6 years ago

nse's DOMINIATION, as rightly point out by some, with the help of some SEBI's top officials [all now gone] coupled with the lot of Funds derived from the market [near monopoly]. this kind of action should be taken earlier. now Mr Sebastian is fighting very well and i wish him success, so that the monopoly will vanish. the NSE is promoted with the PSU [almost except a few ] Industrial Development Bank of India Limited
Industrial Finance Corporation of India Limited
Life Insurance Corporation of India
State Bank of India
ICICI Bank Limited
IL & FS Trust Company Limited
Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited
SBI Capital Markets Limited
Bank of Baroda
Canara Bank
General Insurance Corporation of India
National Insurance Company Limited
The New India Assurance Company Limited
The Oriental Insurance Company Limited
United India Insurance Company Limited
Punjab National Bank
Oriental Bank of Commerce
Indian Bank
Union Bank of India
Infrastructure Development Finance Company Ltd. and nobody can enjoy the public monies and hence, those affected should take a strong action.

Dr Vaiebhav Dhoka

6 years ago

The reason behind such cases is that these constitutional bodies loose nothing in frivolous litigation.It is public money ,tome is wasted.Three years back I filed RTI 2nd appeal against SEBI & wrote to CIC that as an common man it is beyond reach of common man to go to Delhi but SEBI official flew twice to Delhi meaning that public is always at receiving end.And this flaw is used either to settle score against a person as in this case Mr. Sebastine.or they contst for EGO.They are always in WIN WIN state.Only public money is WASTED.

SSP

7 years ago

SC ticks of NSE, now NSE will face Magistrate Court they ticked off by refusing to go or face them earlier.

What a price for a NSE tick size. Still NSE is NSE, will they ever respect law of the land ? They did not think twice before inflicting injustice to Mr. Sebastin. Let us wait and watch, it would be interesting to see if their Management really shows respect by appearing in the court. We have to be to give moral support to Mr Sebastin.
I wish Mr. Narayen a defeat staring in his face by fair trail.
By the way how much public money they spent in SC ? All for wrong precedence and for all wrong reasons trying to curtail human right. This has certainly not met the requirement and expectations of public ? What about their board ?

sumen patel

7 years ago

Yes I agree that it is good idea to mobilize in support of Sebastin, this will also bring it to the fore larger issue of preventing corporate like NSE accountable for their unfair employment practices, and making work places safer for the professionals.

My question is what is their compliance department doing, why grievances handling cell has been quite, what was legal and F&A doing, they are the trustees of laws. Is it overall failure of many departments ? or loss of collective wisdom ? Or erosion of talent. I think their top management must have driven out all other talents who could have advised them.

If they are failing, this must also be true in respect of Member grievances ? Where they will go ? Risk membership ?

Or they are not open to any advise and rely on their own egoistic intelligence and thus what ever the talent they had must have flied to other safer places. What ever the reasons, these are indicators of general erosion and rot in once premier institute turned into evil place. FM, Home minister, JPC should investigate.

The issue is very serious Parliament should take notice of it. We must rally behind Mr. Sebastin. This battle of Handi ghati must never be lost. I will be there with you Mr. Sebastin to give moral support.

Cherry Varughese

7 years ago


NSE lost the plot in the Supreme Court ! However MD/JMD may still go on ! as they have been serial violator of labour laws with scant regards for employees.

They are not used to face defeat, they routinely flout laws, misrepresent the world that they are the government organization in order to get all the benefits from government departments. They have the attitude of considering themselves bigger and superior to the government.

Until and unless people start asking as who owns the NSE ! and who controls it, this satyam should come out before people. Government should appoint administrator.

Supreme courts judgment is a landmark one and it should be an eye opener for NSE. As it has happened with 1 it can happen to others also.

In job market NSE is known to be high handed, arbitrary, flouting norms regarding working hours for male & female employees with use and throw attitude. People see it as place very hostile towards its employees.

So far they have managed everything, they hope to manage many things, defending himself in the lower court would not be easy for Mr. Sebastin whose struggle is now epic one. One wish this struggle should continue till justice is achieved not just for Sebastin but for every one who have suffered and whose dues were not cleared or defamed, humiliated in some ways. Mr. Sebastin should win this case now in Metropolitan Magistrate court no. 16 at ballard pier.

Let us join his/our struggle till we win against NSE injustice. I appeal to the NSE employees, ex-employees and other market participants (who have equally been treated nastily by NSE) to gather in large nos. at the ballard peer, metropolitan magistrate court no 16 in support of Mr. Sebastin on next date. Let court see that Mr. Sebastin is not alone and his case no. is not seen as another piece of serial no. to be turned it over from left to right. Let court realize that this is the test for Indian judicial system so that people retain the faith in the system. NSE may still spend another crore on this case which middle class salaried person like sebastin can’t match, however with the presence of people the trial can be more fair. Let presence of many ex-employees in the court can convey that NSE has hurt, humiliated ruined careers, economies of too many people by their inhuman approach.

The date of court case will be conveyed to all, let us gather in the court in support of Mr. Sebastin.

Kamlesh Kumar

7 years ago

It is high time NSE stop their unfair practices with their employees as well as ex-employees. Narain should definately give written apology in all the leading newspapers as well as he should bare all the money related to this case and pay the similar amount to Dr. Sebastin also.

Ravindra Shetye

7 years ago

As a judge I would have the following punishment for Mr. Narain and acomplices if any.
1. The total expense on both sides to be personally paid by Mr. Narayan.
2. A similar amount to be paid by Mr. Narayan to Mr. Sebastian.
3 An exemplary jail of one week to Mr. Narayan and accomplices.
An advertisement in two widest circulated Business newspapers in each state one in English and one in local language at the cost of Mr. Narayan.

Roopsingh Solanki

7 years ago

Dear readers-i want to raise few points which shows the 2 different yard sticks used by SEBI against mutual fund industry and particularly against IFA community.
1-SEBI approves online trading and settlememt sofyware for securities trading-and though it allows exchange brokers to charge more then 50 paisa brokerage(.5%),for sell and purchase and even more by few like ICICI direct-but after aboloshing of entry load after 8 months passed-it has not worked out to give same facility to empanneled IFA's-so IFA;s are forced to go for manual transactions which is not cost effective.
2-SEBI is not allowing NFO's which is good move but the bad part is that it allows IPO's for raising money from uneducated investors.
3-SEBI put a limit to expense on NFO and but it is not looking to huge expenses done by IPO raisning companies.as if they have all rights to make any amount of expenses(at the cost of investors pocket)-with no guarantee of loss or profit on listing day(most IPO's are in red now).
4-equity brokers are leving charges to be named like DEMAT opening,Demat maintaing annual charge,Demat closing charge,DEmat transfer charge,Inter depositery benificiarry charge,and above all brokearge to be paid not less then .5% in most of cases per sell or purchase along with STT-
5-Are all these costs bearable by a RETAIL investor who wants to put some savings in securities?
CAN SOME ONE ANSWER THESE POINT AMICABLY?

AJ

7 years ago

I am wondering what would be a just punishment for such abnormal and ham handed behaviour. Mr. Ravi Narain's dismissal (or whoever is the culprit) and a similar public notice against his name?

Danny Sarna

7 years ago

I hope that the courts also decree that all the costs of the litigation of both the NSE & of Mr Sebastian plus substantial tort damages to Mr Sebastian must be paid by Mr Ravi Narain personally. Only then will the needs of justice and the need for effective deterrence against such rogue behaviour be achieved. I would urge the press to support Mr Sebastian by running a sustained campaign to ensure this is done.

A J Nair

7 years ago

Ravi narain should be sentenced 1 day jail just to send message to other such high power designates to maintain restraint in such matter

Shibaji Dash

7 years ago

Newton's law: anything that goes up must come down. Aesop's fable : the mother frog bloated and kept bloating till she burst not able to digest her kid's description of the cow it had seen . A bubble must burst burst at the end.After all Sebastin had only one identity ie, his name.

Avinash Murkute

7 years ago

Wake up call to other CMD who have the tendency to prolong the cases till they retire. Let this case set an example for Corruption Managing Directors. And I am referring to BSNL for sure.

Avinash Murkute

7 years ago

Wake up call to other CMD who have the tendency to prolong the cases till they retire. Let this case set an example for Corruption Managing Directors. And I am referring to BSNL for sure.

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