FEMA violation of Rs10,000 crore detected in 2G scam: ED tells SC

The ED, which filed a fresh status report, said show-cause notices have been issued to six telecom companies for alleged violation of FEMA and attachment of property was initiated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that FEMA violation of around Rs10,000 crore has been detected by various telecom companies in second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam and around 200 bank accounts are under suspect, reports PTI.

The ED, which filed a fresh status report in a sealed cover, said show-cause notices have been issued to six telecom companies for alleged violation of FEMA and attachment of property was initiated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

“We are attaching properties and issuing show-cause notices as an ongoing process,” senior advocate KK Venugopal told a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly.

He said the probe into the money trail has led the ED to Cyprus, Channel Islands, Singapore, Mauritius and Switzerland.

The investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit has revealed there are 200 bank accounts which are suspected to be connected with the scam.

He submitted that six months more time would be needed to complete the process.

He, however, assured the court to complete the task within three months after the bench expressed reservation for granting six months' time.

While placing CBI’s status report, Mr Venugopal said investigation has established that some telecom companies have set up front companies under a ‘corporate veil’ to get spectrum.

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Food inflation in double digits at 10.05% for week ended 20th August

"Food inflation has gone up... This is really disturbing. We shall have to ensure and remove the supply constraints on food items,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee commented

New Delhi: After a gap of over five months, food inflation entered the double-digit zone at 10.05% for the week ended 20th August, with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee describing the trend as ‘disturbing’ and experts saying RBI (Reserve Bank of India) may go in for another rate hike, reports PTI.

The weekly food inflation, measured by Wholesale Price Index (WPI), went up from 9.80% in the previous week on account of expensive onion, vegetables, fruits and protein-based items.

The last time food inflation crossed 10 per cent was in the week ended March 12.

"Food inflation has gone up... This is really disturbing.

We shall have to ensure and remove the supply constraints on food items,” Mr Mukherjee told reporters here.

As per the official data released on Thursday, prices of onion soared by 57.01% year-on-year and potato rose by 13.31% during the week under review.

Fruits became dearer by 21.58% and vegetables overall by 15.78% on an annual basis.

Prices of protein rich items, eggs, meat and fish were up 12.62%, while milk and cereals became dearer by 9.22% and 4.64% respectively.

Attributing the jump in food inflation to seasonal factors, experts opined it could again force the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to hike interest rate during its mid-quarter monetary policy review scheduled on 16th September.

“With headline inflation remaining well above 9%, we expect RBI to raise key policy rates by 25 basis points at its next mid-quarterly review,” Crisil chief economist DK Joshi said.

Food items constitute about 14% to the WPI.

Mr Joshi said seasonal factors like supply problems due to heavy rainfall in parts of the country is pushing up the food inflation.

He, however, said as monsoon has been good so far, prices of vegetables may come down in the coming days.

Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia too said seasonal factors are pushing up inflation.

“Inflation is a worry... If you see the data, last year at this time food prices went down and then rose again. So I would not be surprised if prices rise a little bit,” Mr Ahluwalia said.

Overall, primary articles recorded 12.93% inflation for the week ended 20th August, up from 12.40% in the previous week. Primary articles have a share of over 20% in the WPI.

However, inflation in non-food articles, like fibres, oilseeds and minerals, stood at 17.19%, down from 17.80% in the previous week.

As per the data, fuel and power inflation was at 12.55% for the week ended 20th August, down from 13.13% in the previous week.

“I expect food inflation to come down in the coming weeks ... as the monsoon has been good. We are almost towards the end of the monsoon and all indications are that the agricultural production will be good during this year,” Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council chairman C Rangarajan said.

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Exports grow 82% in July; trendline shrugs off global woes

Describing the huge growth, as “unheard in the recent history” of Indian exports, FIEO president Ramu S Deora said, “We are adding around $10 billion every month in the last four months”

New Delhi: Exports in India surged by an impressive 81.79% to $29.3 billion year-on-year in July, notwithstanding problems in the US and Europe, the two major markets for Indian merchandise, reports PTI.

In July last year, shipments stood at $16.14 billion.

Imports too jumped by 51.5% to $40.4 billion during the month against $26.6 billion a year-ago, leaving a trade deficit of $11 billion, according to the official data released on Thursday.

Describing the huge growth, as “unheard in the recent history” of Indian exports, president of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Ramu S Deora said, “We are adding around $10 billion every month in the last four months (on a sequential basis).”

The achievement is considered significant in the wake of uncertainty in the US economy, which accounts for 10% of India’s exports. Besides, there are debt problems in several parts of Europe.

The trend was led by growth in exports of engineering, petroleum products and gems and jewellery items.

For the April-July period, the export consignments grew by 53.98% to $108.34 billion from $70.36 billion during the corresponding period previous year.

During the first four months of the fiscal, imports expanded by 40% to $151 billion while trade deficit stood at $42.6 billion.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said “fundamentals of Indian economy are strong...”

In July, oil imports were valued at $11.44 billion, growing annually by 37.02%. Non-oil imports, too, expanded by 58.12% to $28.98 billion.

During April-July this fiscal, oil imports rose by 22.72% to $41.97 billion. Non-oil imports up by 48.03% to $109.06 billion from $73.68 billion in April-July 2010-11.

Mr Deora said “such growth in exports in the background of numerous challenges is indeed spectacular and is a measure of Indian entrepreneurial skills.”

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