HC notice to CBI on bail plea of Kanimozhi in 2G case

Ms Kanimozhi, who sought bail in the special court on 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 the care of his father working abroad

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigation agency, on the bail pleas of Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case, reports PTI.

“Issue notice to the CBI for 30 May,” justice Ajit Bharihoke, who yesterday (Monday) dismissed the bail pleas of five corporate honchos in the case, said.

The court also asked the probe agency to file a status report detailing the stage of investigation and the judicial proceedings in the case on the next date of hearing.

Ms Kanimozhi, the 43-year-old daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, and Sharad Kumar had approached the high court Monday with their bail applications after the special CBI court ordered their “forthwith” arrest on 20th May.

Rejecting their bail applications, the special court had said that the offence attributed to them was grave and the possibility of influencing the witnesses cannot be ruled out.

Ms Kanimozhi, who sought bail in the special court on 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 the care of his father working abroad.

“The petitioner (Ms Kanimozhi) has a single school-going child to be taken care of. Her husband is employed abroad and the court should grant bail to her,” said the bail plea, filed by the daughter of the DMK patriarch through advocates VG Pragasam, SJ Aristotle and Sudarshan Rajan.

Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar were named in the CBI charge-sheet 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 received Rs200 crore through a circuitous route. DMK chief’s wife Dayalu Ammal owns the remaining 60% stake in the channel.

In her bail plea, the DMK MP claimed she is innocent and has been falsely implicated in the case due to “the biased media reporting concocted on the basis of conjectures and surmises.”

She said she had co-operated with the CBI in its investigation and also voluntarily complied with court’s summons.

She also referred to the special judge’s observation in the order that she had shown “extremely dignified conduct” in the court by appearing regularly and said she should be granted bail.

“She is a respectable person having roots in the society. Being a member of Parliament and a law-abiding citizen, she will neither flee from justice nor will tamper with evidence nor interfere with the course of trial,” she added in her plea.

“As a member of Parliament and whip of the DMK party in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Indian Parliament), she has to attend Parliament sessions and all party meetings convened from time to time in connection with parliamentary business,” she said.

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NPCI launches India’s first rural bank ATM card

Kashi Gramin Bank customers can use the card across any of the 87,000-odd ATM networks in the country, NPCI managing director and chief executive AP Hota said, adding this is the first gramin bank ATM card in India

Mumbai: The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is making fast progress with the rollout of the uniform national payment card and launched the first such card with a regional rural bank on Monday in Varanasi, reports PTI.

“We have launched the first gramin bank ATM card with the Kashi Gomti Samyut Gramin Bank in association with Union Bank of India in Varanasi. The card is called RuPay Gramin Card,” NPCI managing director and chief executive AP Hota told PTI here.

This is a big step in narrowing down the technological gap between major scheduled banks and regional rural lenders, he added.

Kashi Gramin Bank customers can use the card across any of the 87,000-odd ATM networks in the country, Mr Hota said, adding this is the first gramin bank ATM card in India.

Mr Hota further said being sponsored by the Union Bank (as RRBs don’t have permission from the RBI to make real time settlements), the RuPay Gramin Card will have the logos of the NPCI, Kasi Gramin Bank and the Union Bank.

The card was launched by Union Bank chairman and managing director MV Nair, a bank release said here.

On 14th May, NPCI had launched the first RuPay Card with the Maharashtra-based urban cooperative bank, Gopinath Patil Partik Janata Sahkari Bank. This also is an ATM card and not a debit card, Mr Hota informed.

On why the NPCI is launching only with co-operative and rural banks and not debit cards with commercial banks, he said, “Nationalised and private sector banks have different set of demands. Mainly they want debit cards, which we are not in a position to offer now. We are still working on the technology platform the merchant payment gateway for this.”

Mr Hota expressed the hope that the corporation will be able to offer the same within this year. “We hope to launch the RuPay debit cards by December.”

Set up by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) and being run under the guidance of the Reserve Bank of India, NPCI is working on rolling out the RuPay Card, which the RBI wants to eventually replace MasterCard and Visas Card as the single national payment card.

NPCI recently got the RBI permission to launch the RuPay Card, which finalised only late March. Leading financial consultancy Ernst & Young is working on the technological platform for the RuPay to be rolled out nationally.

In 2009, the RBI had asked the IBA to launch a not-for -profit company and design a rival card, then tentatively called India card, that can meet the requirements of the domestic banks on the lines of the Union Pay of China.

Currently, every transaction done in India using a debit or credit card is routed through network switches owned by Visa or MasterCard, which are based outside the country. The RuPay would eliminate the need for this connectivity.

Domestic banks paid around Rs500 crore last year as fees to these global card firms for processing debit and credit card payments, 90% of this were domestic deals.

Earlier in the day, NPCI held a seminar in the city on Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS).

Addressing the seminar, advisor to the prime minister on public information infrastructure & innovation Sam Pitroda said if mobile banking has to take off really, then the service providers have to bring down cost and incentivise the users for doing so.

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Govt plans to introduce security features in notes

The Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India has already taken steps to produce indigenous raw material for the production of bank notes. The move will lead to production of about 80-85% of the bank note paper in the country in the next three years as against import of about 95% paper at present

New Delhi: The government on Monday said it is working towards introducing security features in currency notes across all denominations to check the menace of counterfeiting, reports PTI.

“Counterfeiting of our currency is a matter of great concern for the government... to check this menace of fake currency, an exercise for introduction of security features in all denominations of Indian bank notes is under way,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

The initiative, he added, is being piloted by the Directorate of Currency.

The finance minister said that to tackle the problem of counterfeiting, Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) has already taken steps to produce indigenous raw material for the production of bank notes.

“This will lead to production of about 80%-85% of the bank note paper in the country in the next three years as against import of about 95% paper at present,” he said.

He added that fully computerised ERP/SAP system is being installed by the SPMCIL to bring in economy, efficiency and transparency.

Mr Mukherjee was speaking at a function after releasing the new procurement manual of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL).

He said that it was one of the recommendations of the Banerjee Committee that looked at the issues of improving the functioning of the corporation and BRBNMPL (a subsidiary of RBI), which submitted its report in March 2010.

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