Every day's delay in tightening the oversight on ammonium nitrate has had that much of a disastrous impact. Should the government once again fail to learn these lessons now and wait for the next blasts to occur, asks EAS Sarma
Anguished over the loss of lives in the Hyderabad blasts on Thursday, EAS Sarma, former secretary of the Government of India (GoI) has again raised the issue of uncontrolled movement of ammonium nitrate (AN) in the country. Since 2006, the former secretary has been writing letters to the home ministry, the National Security Agency (NSA), the ministry for industrial development and the Andhra Pradesh government about the possible misuse and uncontrolled movement of AN in the country. And yet the government continued to ignore the warnings which led to the blasts in Hyderabad.
Mr Sarma, in a letter written to the prime minister, said, “When I wrote this (he wrote to the home secretary in May 2012 and again in December 2012, about the need to keep an eye on import and movement of AN) letter, I sincerely hoped that someone somewhere in the corridors of power in your government would feel responsible and act. My hope continues to be a mere unfulfilled wish, while innocent lives continue to be lost as a result of the omissions on the part of the authorities.”
The twin blasts ripped through a crowded market in Hyderabad on Thursday, leaving 16 dead and over 120 injured.
“In the past, there were instances of AN trucks missing but there is no information on the outcome of the cases registered! It is possible that the chemical has gone into the hands of the extremist groups. Even one kg of AN in the hands of an extremist could cause havoc and lead to loss of innocent lives as it has been the case with most instances of terrorism during the last several years,” he added.
Referring to the use of AN in Hyderabad blasts, Mr Sarma says, “A stitch in time may have saved nine”. Here are the questions raised by the former secretary to the prime minister...
The way the government has moved in notifying this chemical as an ‘explosive’ first, then issuing the Rules, has not been one driven by a sense of urgency and determination to regulate the use of the chemical. “Every day’s delay in tightening the oversight on ammonium nitrate has had that much of a disastrous impact. Should the government once again fail to learn these lessons now and wait for the next blasts to occur?” the former secretary questioned.
He said, “While post-blast investigations are extremely important and they need to be carried out in a highly professional manner, the pre-emptive measures that I have listed out will help minimise the scope for the anti-social groups to carry out their dastardly acts of terrorism.
Sometimes, a stitch in time could save nine later! Had MHA taken action earlier, perhaps the Hyderabad blasts would not have taken place, as Ammonium Nitrate would not have been available easily."
Properties and even the headquarters of Aftek, the Ranjit Dhuru promoted company are under the hammer since last year. However, the lenders still cannot find a buyer. Aftek is another one of Ketan Parekh's 10 stocks which have self-destructed
Aftek (erstwhile Aftek Infosys), one of 10 chosen stocks of Ketan Parekh that was ramped by the speculator and later came to known as K-10 stocks, is under hammer since last year. Lenders such as Bank of India (BoI) and State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ) are trying to find buyers for Aftek's property in Pune's Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park and the company’s head office in Dadar, central Mumbai.
According to sources, till date SBBJ has not been able to find a buyer for the company’s main office ‘Aftek House’, a six storied commercial building with an area of 269.23 sq meters located near Shivaji Park on Veer Savarkar Marg in Mumbai's Dadar area, one of the prime locations in the city.
SBBJ, under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002, took over Aftek's head office in February 2012. It then put Aftek House under the hammer in May 2012. The reserve price for the deal was Rs64.44 crore. However, it could not find suitable buyer. (http://foreclosureindia.com/viewAd.php?fid=82336&src=ads/SBBJ-A-mihir.jpg)
The bank, then again issued tender-cum-auction sale notice on 14 August 2012 for selling Aftek House. Despite lowering the reserve price to Rs56.57 crore from Rs64.44 crore, the lender could not find any buyer. (http://bankpropertyauction.com/photos/bpics/706-5452761.jpg)
Similarly, during February 2012, BoI, put Aftek's plot in Pune’s Hinjewadi area under the hammer. The reserve price for the plot admeasuring 9,340 sq meters was Rs32 crore. The auction on 14 March 2012 also failed to get suitable buyer. JVD Recovery Agency, the agent appointed for the auction while confirming the news that the property is still on sale has asked us to give an offer!
Aftek was started by Ranjit Dhuru, a scion of a family that owned large tracts of land in the Dadar area. There are two roads named after the Dhurus, with one sub-area is known as Dhuru Wadi (Dhuru colony). The main architect of Aftek was also staying in his 200-year old ancestral house at Dadar.
Ranjit Dhuru is the chairman, chief executive officer and managing director of Aftek. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, he was paid Rs75.02 lakh as compensation during 2012.
Fate of the K-10 stocks...
Global Telesystems, Zee Telefilms, Himachal Futuristic Communication (HFCL), Silverline, Satyam Computers, SSI, Aftek Infosys, DSQ Software, Ranbaxy and Pentamedia were Ketan Parekh’s favourite stocks. Using the money from Global Trust Bank, Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank and other sources, Parekh inflated share prices of these companies.
Soon after the 2001 scam was exposed, the rigged shares lost their values so heavily that thousands of people lost their savings. Some banks including BoI also lost significant amounts of money. Global Trust Bank and the Madhavpura Cooperative were driven to bankruptcy.
Barring Zee and Ranbaxy, all other K-10 stocks self destructed. Ranbaxy has been sold to a Japanese company. Global Tele is alive but struggling to continue a viable business. Satyam turned out to be a bigger scam and got taken over. DSQ is defunct. HFCL (name changed to Dynamic Infotel), Pentamedia, Silverline and Aftek Infosys are nominally quoted. SSI promoters sold off its their software business converted the company into a shadowy real-estate company called PVP Ventures.
Yesterday, we had mentioned that the Nifty’s support is at 5,820. Today, the benchmark made a low of 5,836. Yet, strong downward momentum is lacking
The market closed flat with a negative bias amid highly volatile trade as cautiousness prevailed ahead of the Union Budget and sluggish global cues. Yesterday, we had mentioned that the Nifty’s support is at 5,820. Today, the benchmark made a low of 5,836. Yet, strong downward momentum is lacking. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 56.47 crore shares and advance-decline ratio of 712:770.
The market opened mixed tracking negative cues from Europe and the US in overnight trade. On the other hand, the Asian markets were up in morning trade as investors picked up stocks at lower levels after yesterday’s sharp decline in the markets.
The Nifty opened 14 points lower at 5,838 and the Sensex resumed trade at 19,342, 17 points higher. Buying in oil & gas, pharma and power stocks pushed the indices higher in initial trade.
However, volatility saw the benchmarks moving in and out of the red before dropping to their lows at around 10.30am. The Nifty fell to 5,836 and the Sensex went back to 19,290 at their respective lows.
A fair degree saw the market fluctuating between gains and losses as trade progressed. A positive opening of the European indices supported domestic investor sentiment in the post-noon session.
Buying in banking and healthcare stocks helped the indices hit their intraday highs at round 2.30pm with the Nifty rising to 5,874 and the Sensex going up to 19,402. However, choppiness ahead of the Union Budget kept a cap on the gains.
The market closed a tad lower, and in the red for the second day, on nervousness ahead of the Union Budget next week. The Nifty settled two points down (0.03%) to 5,850 and the Sensex settled eight points (0.04%) at 19,317.
While the BSE Sensex and Nifty closed flat with a negative bias, the broader indices were marginally in the positive. The BSE Mid-cap index added 0.02% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.11%.
The top sectoral gainers were BS Realty (up 1.35%); BSE TECk (up 1.33%); BSE IT (up 0.83%); BSE Healthcare (up 0.78%) and BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.58%). The main lowers were BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1.41%); BSE Auto (down 0.55%); BSE Metal (down 0.53%); BSE PSU (down 0.29%) and BSE Consumer Durables (down 0.15%).
Fourteen of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The major gainers on the Sensex were Bharti Airtel (up 4.64%); Wipro (up 2.43%); Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 1.96%); ICICI Bank (up 1.22%) and Infosys (up 1.06%). The chief losers were Hindustan Unilever (down 2.60%); Coal India (down 2.31%); Maruti Suzuki (down 2.09%); HDFC (down 1.84%) and Tata Motors (down 1.60%).
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Strides Arcolab (up 5.46%) and Gujarat Fluorochomicals (up 5.37%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Jet Airways India (down 5.81%) and United Breweries (down 4.61%).
The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Rupa & Company (up 19.97%) and Sacheta Metals (up 19.94%).
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Alka India (down 14.29%) and Winsome Textile Industries (down 13.90%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 25 ended in the green. The key gainers were Bharti Airtel (up 4.51%); DLF (up 3.51%); Wipro (up 2.65%); Power Grid Corporation (up 2.25%) and Sun Pharma (up 1.57%). The top losers were HUL (down 2.79%); Coal India (down 2.69%); Jaiprakash Associates (down 2.23%); Maruti Suzuki (down 2.13%) and HDFC (down 1.85%).
Markets across Asia settled mixed following reports that euro-area services and manufacturing declined more-than-expected in February. Besides, the Federal Reserve’s Bank of St Louis president James Bullard said the US unemployment rate may fall to 6.5% by mid-2014 which may prompt the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate.
The Jakarta Composite rose 0.40%; the KLSE Composite gained 0.50%; the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.68%; the Straits Times added 0.02% and the Seoul Composite was up 0.18%. On the other side, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.51%; the Hang Seng dropped 0.54% and the Taiwan Weighted fell 0.12%.
At the time of writing, CAC of France was up 1.25%, DAX of Germany rose 0.36% and UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.57%. At the same time, the US stock futures were in the positive, indicating a firm opening for the US markets later in the day.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares aggregating Rs1,213.57 crore on Thursday whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks amounting to Rs228.78 crore.
The RP Sanjiv Goenka group-owned tea and plantations company, Harrisons Malayalam, plans to develop rubber plantations on 4,000-5,000 hectares in Ghana on long-term lease basis. The company would invest nearly Rs300 crore for setting up the plantations. The stock closed 1.14% higher at Rs57.45 on the NSE.
Tata Chemicals’ customised fertilisers unit at Babrala, Uttar Pradesh, is facing hard times. The 1.3-lakh-million-tonne production facility is operating below half its installed capacity because of lack of demand. The stock fell 0.60% to close at Rs330 on the NSE.