Govt clears 11 FDI proposals worth Rs183 crore

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board, however, deferred decisions on nine proposals, including those of Vodafone Essar and Mauritius-based Ventureast Life Fund III LLC, and rejected six applications

New Delhi: The government on Monday cleared 11 proposals, entailing total foreign direct investment of Rs182.78 crore, including that from 9X Media to increase foreign equity participation to up to 100%, reports PTI.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), however, deferred decisions on nine proposals, including those of Vodafone Essar and Mauritius-based Ventureast Life Fund III LLC, and rejected six applications, an official statement said.

Media firm 9X Media Pvt Ltd had sought FIPB nod to increase foreign equity participation from 80% to up to 100% and to make downstream investments up to 100%. The proposal, if implemented, would attract Rs26.20 crore worth FDI.

The board, headed by economic affairs secretary R Gopalan, gave its nod to Kolkata-based Pran Beverages’ proposal for FDI worth Rs16.45 crore, by way of induction of foreign equity by a company from Bangladesh.

DMV-Fonterra Excipients’ proposal which entails induction of foreign investment of up to 100% in the capital of a newly incorporated LLP engaged in the business of manufacturing and sale of pharmaceutical excipients, was also approved. This would bring in FDI worth Rs39.36 crore.

Further, the proposal of Mumbai-based Ace Derivatives and Commodity Exchange to transfer equity shares of the company to foreign institutional investors (FIIs), such that the holding of each FII will not exceed 5% of the equity of the company, was cleared. The proposal is worth Rs10.53 crore.
On the other hand, the board deferred a decision on Vodafone Essar’s request to transfer shares from a resident to a non-resident to carry out activities relating to its telecommunications business.

A decision on induction of foreign equity in a trust by Mauritius-based Ventureast Life Fund III LLC and Singapore- based InterCall Asia Pacific Holdings Pvt Ltd to set up a WOS to undertake the business of providing audio, video and web conferencing services for business, commercial, banking and other establishments was also deferred.

The proposals that were rejected include those of Chennai-based GV Films and Hughes Communications India.

Further, the board also recommended proposal worth Rs1,200 crore for consideration of the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA). These include proposals of Walt Disney Company (Southeast) Asia Pte Ltd, Gurgaon-based Grid Equipments and Energy Grid Automation Transformers and Switchgears India.

The next meeting of the FIPB would be held on 11th November.

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ED may register money laundering case against Marans

The CBI FIR is under review and the ED may register its Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) equivalent to a police complaint under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) provisions

New Delhi: India’s premier investigation agency, Enforcement Directorate (ED), may register a money laundering case against the Maran brothers and others in connection with the controversial Aircel-Maxis deal case in which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran had received Rs547 crore as bribe.

The CBI Monday carried out searches at the residences of Dayanidhi and nine other locations after registering a case against him, his brother Kalanithi Maran, SUN Direct TV director, chairman of Maxis Communication T Ananda Krishnan, senior executive of Astro All Asia Network and Maxis Ralph Marshall and three companies Astro All Asia Networks, Sun Direct TV and Maxis Communications.

ED sources privy to the development said the CBI FIR is under review and the agency may register its Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) equivalent to a police complaint under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) provisions.

The ED had earlier issued notices to telecom firm Aircel for alleged contraventions of foreign exchange rules in connection with 2G spectrum allocation case.

“CBI has registered case against the Maran brothers, Ralph Marshall and T Ananda Krishnan and three companies under section 120b of IPC (criminal conspiracy) read with 13(2) with 13 (1)(d) and also section 7 and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. A case was registered on 9th October. Searches were conducted at Delhi and Chennai,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said here.

It has been alleged by former Aircel chief C Sivasankaran that Mr Maran, as the then telecom minister, had favoured Maxis group in the takeover of his company and in return investments were made by the company through Astro network in Sun TV owned by the Maran family.

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SC reserves order on Chidambaram in 2G case

The government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that Mr Chidambaram, who was finance minister at the time of allotment of spectrum, was not in direct communication with the then telecom minister A Raja in determining the price of the radio waves

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday reserved its order on the plea for a probe into the alleged role of home minister P Chidambaram in the second generation (2G) scam after a spirited defence of him from the government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), both of which maintained that no case has been made out against him, reports PTI.

They said that Mr Chidambaram, who was finance minister at the time of allotment of spectrum, was not in direct communication with the then telecom minister A Raja in determining the price of the radio waves.

“The records show that there was no meeting between Mr Raja and Mr Chidambaram throughout this period and before 10 January 2008 and that all the discussion papers were seen and routed through the finance secretary to the finance minister and all the correspondence was seen and routed through the finance secretary,” the Centre submitted before a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly.

However, the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy refuted the claims of the CBI and the Centre that Mr Chidambaram was not in the picture till 10 January 2008 when the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) headed by Mr Raja issued 122 Letters of Intent (LoIs) to telecom companies without following the policy of auction.

The bench, which also reserved its order on the plea of setting up a committee like Special Investigating Team (SIT) to monitor the probe in the case and to direct the CBI to investigate the role of Mr Chidambaram, was told by the probe agency that no case was made out against him.

“No case is made out to issue any direction to the CBI for further investigation,” CBI's counsel and senior advocate KK Venugopal submitted while placing another status report on the progress in the case.

An identical stand was taken by Centre’s senior counsel PP Rao, who said the view taken by the CBI after studying all the documents and those placed by intervener cannot be said to be perverse or motivated.

Mr Rao criticised the reporting of the 2G case saying media picks up half-baked information without realising the consequences and they were trying to ‘destabilise’ the system without any justification.

Counsel for Reliance Telecom Mukul Rohtagi complained that media reported the observations of the court during the proceedings on an earlier hearing despite a caution by the bench.

He pleaded that the contents of the status report prepared by the CBI should not be read out in the open court.

CPIL’s counsel Prashant Bhushan and Mr Swamy contended that throughout the finance ministry officials and the finance secretary were advocating for the allocation of spectrum throughout auction and Mr Chidambaram was apprised of what was going on.

“Mr Chidambaram was consistently apprised of what was going on. Till 30 November 2007 Mr Chidambaram was apprised of what Mr Raja was up to,” Mr Swamy said.

Mr Bhushan said “the officials were overruled by the finance minister (Mr Chidambaram).”

“There was tripartite meeting going on between DoT, finance ministry and the PMO as to what should be done,” he said

Mr Swamy supported Mr Bhushan’s arguments and said “well before 15 January 2008 Mr Chidambaram was aware what was going on.”

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