World
Greece appoints new finance minister, creditors ponder post-No vote scenario
Greece on Monday appointed a new finance minister after Yanis Varoufakis announced his resignation even as the country voted “No” to a bailout offer in a landmark referendum. Heads of European institutions held a teleconference to discuss the consequences of the historic vote.
 
Euclid Tsakalotos, the deputy foreign minister of international economic affairs and chief coordinator of the country's negotiating team over the debt deal with lenders, replaced Varoufakis. He will be sworn in at the presidential mansion in the evening, an official announcement said.
 
In a posting on his website, Varoufakis said the decision was made in view of "a certain 'preference' by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted 'partners', for my 'absence' from its meetings".
 
“Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister (Alexis Tsipras) judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement,” he said. 
 
“For this reason, I am leaving the ministry of finance today.”
 
“I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum," Varoufakis said.
 
Tsipras later thanked Varoufakis for his "ceaseless efforts" to defend the interests of Greece in negotiations with creditors, according to government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis.
 
Sakellaridis said the government would announce a new finance minister following a meeting between Tsipras and Greek political party leaders at the presidential palace, with the exception of the Neo-Nazi party, Efe news agency reported.
 
"The prime minister feels the need to thank him (Varoufakis) for his ceaseless efforts to promote the positions of the government and the interests of the Greek people under very difficult circumstances," the spokesman conveyed.
 
Meanwhile, heads of European institutions, in particular the European Commission (EC), the European Council, the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank (ECB), held a teleconference on Monday morning to discuss the Greek situation in light of the country's "No" vote in Sunday's bailout referendum.
 
Presidents Jean-Claude Juncker of EC, Doland Tusk of the European Council, Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Eurogroup and Mario Draghi of the ECB took part in the meeting, Efe news agency reported.
 
Juncker said he respected the decision of the Greek citizens, and explained the democratically elected leaders of the 18 countries of the Eurozone had been talking since Sunday night.
 
The matter will be further addressed on Tuesday before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, according to the EC president.
 
Meanwhile, Dijsselbloem said that the result of the Greek referendum has been noted.
 
"This result is very regrettable for the future of Greece. For recovery of the Greek economy, difficult measures and reforms are inevitable. We will now wait for the initiatives of the Greek authorities. The Eurogroup will discuss the state of play on Tuesday, July 7," he added.
 
In Paris, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin asked the anti-austerity Greek government to come up with serious and strong proposals to reach a crucial deal as the "No" vote in Sunday's referendum "does not fix anything".
 
"It's up to the Greek government to make proposals now. The vote does not fix anything automatically. It's a refusal of an attitude," Sapin said.
 
Speaking to the local broadcaster Europe 1, Sapin acknowledged that "the thread of dialogue is very tenuous", and urged Athens "to show that it is serious about negotiation and make serious and solid proposals" in order to bridge differences with its creditors and help the debt-ridden country get back again on its feet.
 
"There is a risk of leaving the euro but there is no automatic exit. In the same way, the vote doesn't mean automatically that Greece stays in the euro. What will determine whether it stays or leaves is the quality of negotiations that will start," the French minister added.
 
Sapin reiterated France's stance to keep Greece among the member countries of the single-currency bloc, Xinhua news agency reported. He also pledged to help the left-wing Greek government to alleviate the country's debt burden without giving accurate proposals.
 
In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of senior ministers and officials to assess the impact on Britain of Greece's "No" vote on its austerity package.
 
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and Chancellor George Osborne were present at the meeting.
 
The headquarters of the executive arm of the British government said in a statement that contingency plans were already in place following the "decisive" referendum outcome. BBC reported.
 
According to the BBC report, the British government could not "stand back" from events in Greece, with over two million Britons visiting the country each year and over 40,000 residing there.
 
Before the vote, Cameron had predicted Greece would leave the eurozone if it voted "No" because it would be a "very significant default and a very significant problem", and the chancellor has warned Britain "cannot be immune" from the Greek crisis.

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SC notice to CBI, ED on probe plea against Hindalco, Sasan plant

The court also issued notice on a plea for investigation into permission granted for diversion of coal from the captive coal block allocated to Sasan UMPP that was adversely commented upon by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)

 

The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the plea by NGO Common Cause seeking a probe into alleged "hawala transactions, money laundering and bribery" for allocation of Talabira II coal block to Kumar Manglam Birla-owned Hindalco.
 
The court also issued notice on a plea for investigation into permission granted for diversion of coal from the captive coal block allocated to Sasan UMPP that was adversely commented upon by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
 
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K.Sikri, hearing cases rooted in the coal block allocation scam, issued notice after counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said no probe was undertaken despite Income Tax department saying that Hindalco allegedly paid Rs.200 crore to various people for securing interest in Talabira coal block.
 
Contending that this was a clear case for thorough investigation, Bhushan said how could the investigating agencies take a position that they will not investigate these payments made by Hindalco.
 
He said that Income Tax department came to the conclusion on the basis of details revealed in the diary seized by the CBI from the office of the Hindalco.
 
Bhushan gave to the court, in a sealed cover, what he described as the findings of the Income Tax investigation into use of money by Hindalco to facilitate the allocation of a part of the coal block.
 
On Sasan UMPP, Bhushan, seeking investigation into the permission granted for the diversion of coal, contended that it caused a loss of Rs.29,000 crore to the public exchequer.
 
He said that that apex court in its judgment cancelling the coal blocks had said that no coal from the captive coal blocks allocated for UMPP would be diverted for any other purposes.
 
The court on Monday also asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to ascertain from former CBI officer M.L.Sharma if he was inclined to head the team that would look into the meetings former agency chief Ranjit Sinha had with coal block allocation scam accused.
 
The SIT so set up would investigate if these meetings had in any way impacted the investigations and subsequent charge sheets or closure reports filed by the CBI in the coal block allocation scam cases.
 
At the outset of the hearing, Rohatgi told the court that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) did not have an investigating arm to undertake the exercise and a team of officers of impeccable integrity could be constituted to investigate the matter.
 
While directing the listing of the matter next week, the court asked Rohatgi to speak to Sharma and seek his consent.
 
The court also said that if Sharma gives his consent, then he should be asked to give a few names that he may like to have in the SIT to investigate the matter as directed by the apex court by its May 14 order, in which it, holding as "inappropriate" the meetings between Sinha and the accused, had referred the matter to the CVC for its opinion about further course of action.
 
"It is necessary to look into the question whether any one or more such meetings of Mr.Sinha with accused persons without the investigating officer have had any impact on the investigations and subsequent charge sheets or closure reports filed by the CBI."
 
Meanwhile, Special Public Prosecutor in coal block allocation scam cases R.S. Cheema on Monday told the court that it should consider setting up another court to try the coal block scam cases as the hands of the present court were already full.
 
Cheema told the court that of the 50 or so cases, the existing trial court was holding trial in 32 and it would take about two years to complete their trial.
 
The remaining 18 or so cases should be entrusted to another court, he requested.

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RIL proposes to sell 3.25 crore shares in NW18

Shinano Retail Private Limited is 100 percent owned by Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of RIL

 

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Monday announced that it is proposing to sell 3.25 crore shares of Network18 Media & Investments Limited (NW18), to bring down the aggregate shareholding of the promoter and promoter group to 75 percent and increase the public shareholding to 25 percent as mandated by the regulations.
 
"Reliance Industries Limited today announced that it is proposing to sell 3.25 crore shares of Network18 Media & Investments Limited, (representing 3.10 percent of the equity capital of NW18) to bring down the aggregate shareholding of the promoter and promoter group to 75 percent and increase the public shareholding to 25 percent as mandated by Clause 40A of the listing agreement pursuant to Securities Contract (Regulation) Rules, 1957," said a company statement.
 
In this regard, Shinano Retail Private Limited, a promoter group company of NW18, has issued a notice of Offer for Sale of 3.25 crore shares of NW18 through the stock exchange mechanism in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) circulars.
 
Shinano Retail Private Limited is 100 percent owned by Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of RIL.
 

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