HC dismisses bail pleas of Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar

The court dismissed their bail pleas saying that there are prima facie evidences against them. Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar were named by the CBI for allegedly receiving a kick-back to tune of Rs200 crore

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed the bail plea of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, accused in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case, saying there are prima facie evidences against them, reports PTI.

“There are certain prima facie evidences against the accused. Considering the complicity of the accused in the offence, the bail applications are dismissed,” justice Ajit Bharihoke said.

Ms Kanimozhi’s mother Rajathi Ammal and DMK parliamentary party leader TR Baalu were present in the courtroom when the order was pronounced.

Ms Kanimozhi, the 43-year-old daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, and Mr Kumar were named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly receiving a kick-back to tune of Rs200 crore.

Both Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar have 20% stake each in Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd which allegedly received Rs200 crore through a ‘circuitous’ route from Shahid Balwa-promoted DB Realty.

DMK chief’s wife Dayalu Ammal, who has been left out of the list of accused, owns the remaining 60% shares in the television channel.

Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar had moved the high court on 23rd May challenging the trial court’s order which had rejected their bail pleas, saying the offence attributed to them was grave and the possibility of influencing the witnesses cannot be ruled out.

CBI special judge OP Saini had on 20th May rejected the bail pleas of Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar and ordered their ‘forthwith’ arrest. They are currently lodged in Tihar Jail.

Ms Kanimozhi, who sought bail in the special court on the ground of being a woman, had approached the high court seeking relief citing the need to look after her school-going child who is devoid of her care as his father is working abroad.

Justice Bharihoke had on 23rd May dismissed bail pleas of five corporate honchos, including Unitech Group MD Sanjay Chandra and Reliance ADAG MD Gautam Doshi in the case, saying there was a possibility that they may influence the witnesses.


Post Office savings bank deposits likely to fetch 4% interest

The Committee on Small Savings has also suggested that Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) be withdrawn and annual investment limit for the popular Public Provident Fund (PPF) be raised to Rs1 lakh from Rs70,000 at present

New Delhi: A government committee has suggested raising interest rates on Post Office savings bank deposits to 4%, a suggestion that could benefit lakhs of small depositors.

The Committee on Small Savings also recommended linking returns on other small savings schemes with interest rates on government securities, reports PTI.

It has also suggested that Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) be withdrawn and annual investment limit for the popular Public Provident Fund (PPF) be raised to Rs1 lakh from Rs70,000 at present.

The committee recommended that interest rates for Post Office savings deposits be raised to 4% from 3.5% at present, in line with the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) decision to hike rates on savings bank deposits.

Under the new formula, suggested by the committee headed by RBI deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath, small savings schemes would provide better returns to investors.

Interest rate for one-year deposit scheme would go up to 6.8% from 6.25%, while returns for the PPF would improve to 8.2% from 8%.

With regard to taxing returns on the small savings schemes, the committee said the issue should be considered by the government while firming up the Direct Taxes Code (DTC), which seeks to replace the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Noting that the small savings schemes are agent-driven, the committee suggested that the commission on them should be gradually reduced from 4% to 1%.

While recommending to raise the interest rate on savings deposits by 50 basis points to 4%, the committee said the government should introduce the system of calculation of interest rate on a daily basis on post office schemes as is being done by banks.

It further suggested that the interest rates on various small saving instruments should be benchmarked to the secondary market yields on central government securities of comparable maturities.

Taking a cue from Reddy and Rakesh Mohan committees, it said the administered interest rates on the schemes should neither be raised nor reduced by more than 100 basis points above or below the benchmark rate.

It recommended a positive spread of 25 basis points over the rates of government securities of similar maturities. The new rates should be notified by the government every year from 1 April 2012.

In order to prevent money laundering and generation of black money, the committee recommended strict enforcement of the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.

On investment ceilings for different small savings schemes, it said that the government should retain them. In case of removal of ceilings, the government may consider taxing the accruals on the schemes.

In order to improve the liquidity of the 5-year recurring deposit scheme, it said that the government may reduce the lock-in period to one year from three years with a penalty for pre-mature withdrawal. The penalty could be 1% less interest rate.


Anna Hazare begins day-long fast

"The protest against injustice is not wrong. It leads to a successful democracy. If in such a situation you try to disrupt it, that's not right," Mr Hazare said

New Delhi: Civil rights activist Anna Hazare and his supporters Wednesday began a day-long hunger strike at Rajghat to protest the police crackdown on Baba Ramdev's supporters during their agitation against corruption here on Saturday night, reports PTI.

After paying floral tributes at Mahatma Gandhi's samadhi, the Gandhian leader reached the protest site at around 10.20am (IST) to a thunderous applause from around a thousand supporters who assembled there amid a large police presence.

Hazare chanted "Vande Mataram", "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Inqilab Zindabad", prompting the crowd to echo him. Civil society activists like Shanti Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal joined the protest.

Mr Kejriwal said that except justice Santosh Hegde, all civil society members of the Lokpal Bill drafting panel will join the fast, which has been organised to protest the midnight crackdown on Baba Ramdev's supporters that injured over 60 people.

With Delhi Police refusing permission for the day-long hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, Mr Hazare had decided to shift the venue to Rajghat to avoid a confrontation.

Ms Bedi told the gathering that this is the "second war of independence against corruption, extortion and bribery."

"I called Anna 'Gandhi' yesterday (Tuesday). It made some people very angry but large number of the people very happy. Why we have to sit here today? We didn't raise our voices against corruption earlier so we landed up here. We are not against politicians. We approached them, but they did not take up the struggle, so Anna had to take up the fight," she said.

Earlier, before the protest started, Mr Hazare said the government is trying to 'scare' people off the protest. The organisers claimed action on Baba Ramdev supporters has created a 'fear psychosis' among the people.

Asked whether he will seek security for himself, Mr Hazare said he will never do so and he is not afraid of death.

"Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev never asked for security. If they would have done, our country would not be free," he said.

"The protest against injustice is not wrong. It leads to a successful democracy. If in such a situation you try to disrupt it, that's not right," he said.

Large presence of police personnel somewhat dented the enthusiasm of the protestors. Heavy barricading and police deployment prompted some of them to discuss conspiracy theories about the government plotting to thwart their plans.

Organisers claimed they got several calls from people asking whether police will take action. A senior police official said they have taken adequate security measures but did not 'harass' anyone.

People who came to Rajghat were outraged over the crackdown on the Ramdev congregation. "That action was shameful. One should protest. I have left my house and business to join this agitation. If you don't have other means to raise your voice, the only option left is to hit the streets," said BS Negi, a retired Assam Rifles personnel who came to Delhi on 3rd June for the Ramdev protest.

A number of supporters of Baba Ramdev joined in the protest, including Swami Santoshanand, who shared dais with the yoga guru at Ramlila ground on 4th June.

Gandhi lookalikes, tricolour-waving youths and volunteers wearing Gandhi caps added colour to the agitation. Anti-corruption T-shirts worth Rs150 recorded brisk sale.

The protest will be accompanied by an all-religion prayer meeting and a debate on Lokpal Bill.


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