ICICI’s UK arm accused of mistreating whistleblower: Report

According to media reports, the bank tried to repatriate the dealer, S Kapoor, immediately to India against his wishes, after it was confirmed that he had informed the UK FSA about alleged irregularities

India's leading private lender ICICI Bank Ltd's UK subsidiary has been accused by the Employment Tribunals in London of mistreating a whistleblower, a media report says.

According to a report in the Financial Times (FT), the bank tried immediately to repatriate the dealer, S Kapoor, to India against his wishes after it was confirmed that he had informed the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) about alleged irregularities.

In a ruling last month on the case, the Judge wrote, "It is our conclusion (that) the respondent (ICICI) subjected him to a detriment and that it did so because of the protected disclosures that he made internally and more importantly, to the FSA."

Meanwhile, ICICI Bank said the matter was sub judice but it rejected the allegation that Mr Kapoor's repatriation was linked to his disclosures, saying it was instead due to the closure of his division, the proprietary trading group (PTG).

The FT quoted the bank as saying that "we insist that there is no connection between the whistle-blowing incident and the decision to close the PTG.”

In January, Mr Kapoor and a colleague noticed that their superior on the three-man team was allegedly altering records to cover up his trading losses, which touched more than $1 million in 2008, the tribunal ruling said. The pair reported the issue to the management, prompting an internal investigation, the daily said.


CBI charges Raju, others in fresh Rs430-crore scam

According to the CBI’s supplementary charge sheet, the accused created fake customers and generated invoices against them in order to inflate revenues of Satyam to the tune of Rs430 crore

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged Satyam Computer Services Ltd (Satyam) founder B Ramalinga Raju, his brother B Rama Raju and eight others with creating fictitious customers and siphoning off Rs430 crore from the IT company, reports PTI.

According to the supplementary charge sheet filed last month by the CBI, which probed the accounting scam in the company, the accused created fake customers and generated invoices against them in order to inflate revenues of Satyam to the tune of Rs430 crore, incurring expenditure to the tune of Rs65.90 crore.

"Adequate evidence has come on record to prove that the accused Rama Raju, Satyam employees G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathy Raju and Srisailam have dishonestly and fraudulently conspired together to create seven fake customers in 2006 and got forged and fabricated invoices raised in the name of those customers to the tune of Rs430 crore in order to inflate the revenues of Satyam to that extent," the charge sheet said.

In order to inflate the account books, the accused created fake email IDs and sent mails on behalf of the seven customers to various associates of Satyam and urged them to continue the development of the products.

After an analysis of the emails, it was found out that the Internet Protocol addresses used for sending the mails were within Hyderabad, clearly revealing that the mails had not emanated from the seven foreign customers, the charge sheet said.



Vedanta seeks Orissa's help to restrict NGO movement

Vedanta Group has alleged that NGOs like Survival International and Action Aid are instigating locals to go to hilltops and set up houses where the company has proposed to mine bauxite

The Vedanta Group has asked the Orissa government to restrict entry of foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the area where it proposes to mine bauxite, as part of its $8-billion project in the State, alleging that these NGOs were instigating the local population.

“These NGOs comprising Survival International and Action Aid are instigating locals to go to the hilltop, where we have proposed to mine bauxite, and set up houses.

“The Orissa government has already said that there is no tribal population in the proposed mining site. Such efforts by these NGOs are aimed at harming the project and investments in the State at large, their movement has to be regulated," Vedanta Aluminium chief operating officer Mukesh Kumar told PTI.

Vedanta Aluminium, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, has already written to the State's home ministry seeking restrictions on movement of such foreign nationals, besides investigation into their source of funding, he said.

When contacted, Survival International's spokesperson said, "Survival International does not oppose industrial development. But where, as in this case, industrial projects take place on the land of indigenous people, they have a right to be consulted at the very least. Vedanta has not bothered to do this."

On the contrary, the NGO said, the metal company has "launched an unprecedented attack on Survival International, apparently to drive its researchers out of an area where the company is planning to mine."

However, Mr Kumar added, "They (the foreign NGOs) are the enemy of industrial development in the State. If such NGOs and foreign nationals have come on tourist visas, why are they camping in jungles of Kalahandi and Rayagada? They should go to places like Puri. If they do not abide by the rules, they should be sent back," he added.

Mr Kumar said that the influx of foreigners has gained momentum after environment minister Jairam Ramesh instituted a probe into the allegations of illegal bauxite mining by the firm which is in a joint venture with Orissa Mining Corporation at Niyamgiri.

When contacted, Action Aid Orissa head Dhandari Jaina said, "We are working for the cause of the most marginalised population. Everyone knows what we do and what we are doing."

Vedanta has got an ‘in-principle’ approval from the State government to start mining at the proposed site. It is awaiting clearance from the Union environment ministry.

Orissa steel and mines minister Raghunath Mohanty had said that "not a single family of Dangaria Kandha tribe lived at the proposed mining area, located between Rayagada and Kalahandi districts" and there would be no displacement.

But the proposed mining project has reportedly been facing protests from locals and foreign NGOs over allegation of tribal displacement, contrary to Mr Mohanty's assertion.
The green bench of the Supreme Court had last year given its approval to the project. Vedanta Resources has planned an investment of $8 billion (around Rs37,000 crore) across the State in power and aluminium projects.


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