EGoM clears additional 5 lakh tonnes of sugar for exports

The decision to allow export was taken in view of higher output than domestic demand as this would help mills in making payments to sugarcane farmers. With Friday's decision, the government has allowed exports of 1.5 million tonnes of sugar in three equal tranches under the Open General Licence

New Delhi: Ahead of festive season, the government on Friday allowed additional five lakh tonnes of sugar exports and said the decision will not affect the retail prices of the sweetener, reports PTI.

The decision to allow export was taken by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, in view of higher output than domestic demand as this would help mills in making payments to sugarcane farmers.

"The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) has approved export of 5,00,000 tonnes of sugar," a highly placed source said.

"Even after exports, there will be enough stocks to meet the festival demand and the retail prices will remain stable," he said. The retail sugar prices are stable since the last six months at Rs32-Rs33 per kg.

With Friday's decision, the government has allowed exports of 1.5 million tonnes of sugar in three equal tranches under the Open General Licence (OGL).

Sugar production of India is estimated at 24.2 million tonnes in the 2010-11 season against 18.8 million tonnes in the previous season. The annual demand is pegged at 21-21.5 million tonnes.

The food ministry estimates closing stock of sugar at 5.67 million tonnes in the 2010-11 season ending September.

"We expect another 1.7 million tonnes of sugar from the new season. So there will be sufficient supply," sources said.

Hailing the EGoM's decision, ISMA director general Abinash Verma told PTI: "The international prices offer a premium of Rs4-Rs5 per kg over a low domestic ex-mill price."

"The opportunity to export will not only help mills in clearing sugarcane arrears to farmers as well as enabling them to start the next season on time," he added.

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Bombay HC grants bail to Hassan Ali in money laundering scam

“There are no ingredients of proceeds of crime in the case made out by the ED against Hassan. He deserves to be released on bail,” justice AM Thipsay observed while granting bail to 53-year-old Mr Khan on a surety of Rs5 lakh

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday granted bail to Pune stud farm owner Hassan Ali Khan, arrested in March for alleged involvement in multi-crore money laundering scam, observing that there is nothing in Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) case to show that the money amassed by him are proceeds of crime.

“There are no ingredients of proceeds of crime in the case made out by the ED against Hassan. He deserves to be released on bail,” justice AM Thipsay observed while granting bail to 53-year-old Mr Khan on a surety of Rs5 lakh.

Mr Khan was arrested by the ED and booked under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The court, however, directed him to appear before ED everyday and stay either in Mumbai or Pune.

Additional solicitor general Darius Khambata, appearing for ED, requested the court to stay the bail order for a week to enable the agency to appeal against the judgement in the Supreme Court.

Justice Thipsay, however, turned down the plea saying, “There is no apprehension that he (Hassan) would abscond or tamper with evidence. Hence there is no necessity to stay the bail order.”

The court had earlier said that ED should find out if the money allegedly amassed by Mr Khan are proceeds of crime. “There cannot be a presumption on this,” the court had said.

Mr Khan’s lawyer IA Bagaria had argued that he had been falsely implicated in the case. He had contended that Mr Khan had no links with international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and had no accounts in foreign banks.

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HC stays CIC fine on CBI for not giving info in Reliance case

While staying the CIC order on a plea by the CBI, the court also issued a notice to information seeker PC Srivastava seeking his response on the agency's petition by 25 January 2012

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order imposing Rs5,000 fine on the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) for failing to give reasons for not naming Ambani brothers in a case related to alleged masking of international calls as local ones by erstwhile Reliance Infocomm, reports PTI.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw suspended the CIC's 25th July order which had imposed the fine on the CBI's public information officer (PIO) also for failing to appear personally before the CIC to explain the non-compliance with its order.

While staying the CIC order on a plea by the CBI, justice Endlaw also issued a notice to information seeker PC Srivastava seeking his response on the agency's petition by 25 January 2012.

"PIO has neither responded to the summons issued by the commission nor provided any written explanation for not furnishing the information to the complainant in accordance with its order dated 26 May 2011," the CIC had said while imposing the penalty on the CBI PIO.

The CIC also pointed out that the CBI neither gave the requisite information by 20 June 2011 deadline not secured stay on its order by the high court.

The high court, earlier, on another plea by the CBI had stayed the part of the CIC order, which asked the probe agency to disclose to Mr Srivastava its reasons for not naming the Ambani brothers in the international call masking case, despite having named several top officials of Reliance Infocomm.

The CBI had taken up the probe into the case in 2006, a year after Reliance Industries was divided between the feuding siblings-Mukesh and Anil. Reliance Infocomm went to Anil was rechristened as Reliance Communications.

The court had stayed the CIC order on 13th July while deciding to hear CBI plea on 25 January 2012.

The agency had refused to disclose information to the RTI applicant, saying doing so would affect its prosecution in the case.

"Disclosing such information would provide clues to other accused in the case by which they would be able to argue why they too should not be charged," the CBI had said.

"Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act exempts disclosure of information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders."

Last year, the CBI had filed a charge-sheet against the Reliance Infocomm officials Manoj Modi, Akhil Gupta, Shankar Adawal, Pankaj Powar, KR Raju and Bhagwan Das Khurana in the case relating to masking of international calls.

Mr Srivastava had sought to know from the CBI the reasons for not making the Ambani brothers as accused in the case relating to the alleged manipulation and tampering of calling lines, identification of ISD calls by Reliance Infocomm and thereby passing off international calls as local ones and thus causing loss to the government and its PSUs, BSNL and MTNL, worth several crores of rupees.

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