Citizens' Issues
ED probing investment by Wal-Mart in Indian companies

According to a petition filed in the High Court, US retail giant Wal-Mart invested Rs455.80 crore in multi-brand retail in India by masquerading it as for 'Services Sector' before the policy for FDI in retail came into force

Chennai: The Union government has told the Madras High Court that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was investigating the alleged investment of American retail giant Wal-Mart in Indian companies, in violation of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), reports PTI.


Petitioner T Vellayan, President of Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders Association, had earlier sought a direction to authorities to examine, investigate or consider investment by a subsidiary of multi-brand retail company Wal-Mart in two Indian firms in March-April 2010.


When the matter came up, Additional Solicitor General Wilson submitted that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already referred the matter to the ED to conduct an investigation and the agency is now seized of the matter and as such the prayer had become infructuous.


Defence counsel B Kumar stated that it was only a routine procedure and no inquiry was ordered by the government.


He said it was only because of filing of the petition, the RBI initiated action and in case the plea is closed, the authorities would close the matter.


Counsel for the private companies contended that the petitioner had no locus standi in the issue.


A Division Bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and KK Sasidharan said the RBI's letter dated 2nd November, clearly indicated that the RBI had taken cognisance of the petition and another one filed against the FDI policy.


It said the Additional Solicitor General had submitted that the ED was seriously looking into the matter and conducting detailed investigation.


The bench said it was only directing the ASG to take instructions from the ED with regard to action taken pursuant to the letter sent by the RBI and the stage of investigation.


The matter was posted for 31st January next.


The PIL submitted the Union government had allowed FDI in multi-brand retail on 14th September before which it had been prohibited under FEMA, 1999, and Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a person resident outside India) Regulations 2000.


It said in March and April this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, USA through its subsidiary, in collusion with two Indian firms, illegally invested Rs455.80 crore in multi-brand retail in India by masquerading it as for 'Services Sector.'


Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines' Q2 loss widens to Rs754 crore

Kingfisher's revenues in September quarter tumbled to Rs200 crore from Rs1,553 crore in the same period last year due to disruption in operations and eventual suspension of its licence by aviation regulator DGCA

Mumbai: Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines on Thursday reported a net loss of Rs754 crore for the July-September quarter, a sharp increase from Rs469 crore in the year-ago period, reports PTI.


The Vijay Mallya-owned carrier said it is working on a plan to resume its services.


Kingfisher's total revenue plunged to Rs200 crore during its second quarter from Rs1,553 crore in the same period last year due to disruption in operations and eventual suspension of its licence by aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).


Even as the company's expenses declined across various heads, the firm suffered huge restructuring cost. Its tax expenses also rose sharply.


Announcing the result, the carrier said it is in discussions with various stakeholders to ensure that there are no future disruptions and expects to resume operations in the near future.


"Kingfisher Airlines is preparing a comprehensive plan for re-start of operations which will be shared with the DGCA and bankers," the carrier said in a BSE filing.


The carrier is already saddled with accumulated loss of Rs8,000 crore besides a debt burden of over Rs7,524 crore, a large part of which has not been serviced.


The DGCA had recently suspended the flying licence of Kingfisher following the airline's failure to come up with a viable plan of financial and operational revival.


It faces the risk of losing its licence if a revival plan is not submitted by next month, while bankers are working on plans to handle large scale defaults by the airline.


At 12.16pm, Kingfisher shares were trading at Rs12.81, down 0.16% on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex was also marginally down at 18,813.


Bajaj Allianz launches 'extended warranty plan' for consumer durables

Bajaj Allianz would provide 12 months extended warranty for consumer durables purchased through Bajaja Finserv's zero percent loan schemes

Mumbai: Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has launched an 'extended warranty plan' for consumer durables, under which a customer will be able to extend the warranty period for 12 months after expiry of the manufacturer's product warranty, reports PTI.


The company has launched this product in association with Bajaj Finserv Lending, its release said.


"Launched in association with Bajaj Finserv Lending, this product is specifically for those customers who have availed the company's (Bajaj Finserv) zero percent interest consumer durable finance for purchasing durables of their choice," the company said.


According to the general insurance firm, the premiums for this new product will start from Rs350 onwards.


"The cover kicks in after expiry of the manufacturer's product warranty period and will be in force for the next 12 months. The sum insured of the policy shall be equal to the invoice price of the consumer durable or appliance," Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Head (Market Management and Bancassurance) Alpana Singh said.


Bajaj Allianz is a joint venture between Bajaj Finserv and Allianz SE of Germany.


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