ED questions Raja’s close aide in 2G spectrum case

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has questioned former telecom minister A Raja’s close aide RK Chandolia in connection with the alleged second generation (2G) spectrum scam and indicated that more officials are under the scanner, reports PTI.

Official sources said Mr Chandolia, who was personal secretary to Mr Raja at the time of the controversial spectrum allocation in 2008, was questioned for seven hours by the ED yesterday.

Mr Chandolia, who is believed to be in the know of all the transactions in the controversial spectrum allocation, was summoned under relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Sources said the official, who was sent back to his parent department—Indian Economic Services—within days of new telecom minister Kapil Sibal taking charge, was quizzed on the issue of the first-come-first-served basis for allocation of spectrum in 2008 after the cut-off date for receiving applications was advanced by a week from 1 October 2007 to 25th September.

They said Mr Chandolia, besides being asked about his personal financial details, was also questioned on the role played by corporate lobbyist Nira Radia.

The sources said Mr Chandolia wrote down several pages of his statement about the alleged scam, which is also being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Sources said the Directorate is likely to summon Mr Chandolia again as part of its investigation.

They said certain other government officials, whose name have cropped up during the probe will also be questioned soon but did not elaborate.


Friday’s Market Preview: Upmove likely to continue

The gains are likely to continue in the Indian market following positive signals from across the globe. Wall Street settled higher overnight as firm economic data increased risk appetite. Markets in the Asian region were trading in the green on speculations that consumer spending in the US will lead to growth in global economies. The SGX Nifty was 16.50 points up at 6,042 against its previous close of 6,025.50 on Thursday.

The market opened strong on Thursday on the back of supportive cues from across the globe with the key indices breaching their crucial levels on the bell. Mid-cap and small-cap stocks supported early gains. In the noon session, the indices gave up some gains and traded in a narrow range despite the Asian and European benchmarks trading with decent gains. Side-ways movement continued till the end of the session with no major triggers, except for the sharp fall in weekly inflation figures that failed to enthuse investors. The Sensex settled 142.70 points (0.72%) higher at 19,992.70, a tad below the 20,000 mark. The Nifty gained 50.80 points (0.85%) at 6,011.70, above its psychological level of 6,000.

The US markets settled in positive territory for the second day in a row as positive data kept pouring in. Pending sales of US existing houses jumped by a record 10% in October, which followed a 1.8% drop in September, the National Association of Realtors said. The number of applications for jobless benefits averaged 431,000 a week over the month ended 27th November, the lowest level since August 2008, Labor Department figures showed. Retail sales at chain stores rose 6% in November, above the estimated growth of 3.6% and the year-ago gain of 0.6%.

The Dow surged 106.63 points (0.95%) to 11,362.41. The S&P 500 added 15.46 points (1.28%) to 1,221.53. The Nasdaq rose 29.92 points (1.17%) to 2,579.35.

Buoyed by strong economic data from the US, markets in Asia were trading with gains in early trade on Friday. Investor sentiment also received a boost from the European Central Bank’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1%.

The Shanghai Composite was up 0.08%, the Hang Seng gained 0.38%, the Jakarta Composite surged 0.54%, the KLSE Composite was up 0.18%, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.14%, the Straits Times rose 0.45%, the Seoul Composite advanced 0.09% and the Taiwan Weighted was up 0.61%. . The SGX Nifty was 16.50 points up at 6,042 against its previous close of 6,025.50 on Thursday.

The Supreme Court has upheld a 1998 notification of the Union government unshackling the country's sugar industry from ‘licence raj'.

A Bench of justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra scrapped the Allahabad High Court order, agreeing with petitioner Bajaj Hindustan Ltd’s contention that it virtually forced the sugar industry back to ‘licence raj’ during which a sugar plant, in fact any industrial plant, had to be opened only with government’s prior permission, involving a lot of red tapism and often corruption.


Government hikes natural gas price by 10%

New Delhi: The government has approved a 10% hike in price of natural gas that state-owned firms like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) sell to consumers in non-priority sectors such as steel and petrochemicals, reports PTI.

"Effective 1st December, ONGC and Oil India Ltd (OIL) have been allowed to charge up to $5.25 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) for 7-8 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of gas that is sold to non-power and non-fertilizer sector," a senior government official said.

The rates set would be excluding cess, transportation charge, marketing margin/service charge and taxes.

Natural gas produced by ONGC and OIL from fields given to them on nomination basis is sold at government controlled price, called APM (Administered Pricing Mechanism) rate.

The APM price for priority sectors like power and fertiliser was in June more than doubled to $4.2 per mmBtu, but users in other sectors continued get the fuel at 2005 price of up to $4.75 per mmBtu.

"The anomaly has now been corrected," the official said.

The decision would result in ONGC's revenues going up by about Rs200 crore annually.

As per the oil ministry order, consumers in western and northern part (states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and other states covered by GAIL's Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur and Dahej-Vijaipur pipeline such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi) will pay $5.25 per mmBtu.

Users in Rajasthan, south Gujarat and isolated customers in Gujarat, which are getting gas from identified onshore fields, would be charged $5 per mmBtu while the same in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh would pay $4.75 per mmBtu and $4.5 per mmBtu respectively. Consumers in North-East region would pay $4.2 per mmBtu.

The official said the government had in 2005 decided that APM gas will be sold only to power, fertilizer and small users. But some non-priority users not connected to any other source were allowed to continue using the gas subject to paying a market price.

So, users in western region paid $4.75 per mmBtu, a rate equivalent to the then prevalent price of gas from privately-operated Panna/Mukta and Tapti fields. Consumers on the east coast paid $4.3 per mmBtu, the same price as charged by Cairn India for gas from Ravva fields.

Naturally, these rates should have also been increased when Panna/Mukta and Tapti field gas price was revised to $5.73 per mmBtu. But this did not happen.

The government had from 1st June raised APM gas price for core consumers to $4.2 per mmBtu, at par with the rate at which Reliance Industries sells gas from its KG-D6 fields.

APM gas, prior to 1st June, was sold at Rs3,200 per thousand cubic metres or $1.79 per mmBtu.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)