Money & Banking
Indian couple reach settlement with major Australian bank
One of Australia's biggest banks reached a settlement with an Indian couple on Thursday who sued the company for $1.9 billion.
 
Pankaj and Radhika Oswal alleged that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) short-changed them $580 million when selling the couple's majority stake in Burrup Fertilisers after the company went into receivership, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
ANZ said the terms of the settlement were confidential but the deal with the Oswals meant the bank would take a $110 million hit to its bottom line this year.
 
A spokesperson for the Oswals said the couple, who also settled a tax bill with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) worth an estimated $76.4 million, would be leaving Australia.
 
"They're very satisfied with the settlement. They were very pleased to be able to put the facts before the court and they're pleased that it's over," the spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.
 
"They won't be staying in Australia. They are now planning their futures."
 
"The ($110 million) does not reflect the size of the settlement but the Oswals are bound by confidentiality to not disclose the details."
 
Shayne Elliott, CEO of ANZ, said that the settlement does not mean the bank has accepted guilt.
 
"ANZ does not accept many of the claims made in court and we completely reject the allegations made against our staff," Elliott said in a statement to shareholders.
 
"However, we believe the settlement is the right decision for shareholders bearing in mind the residual risks in a case of this size and complexity."
 
The Oswals' spokesman said it was "curious" that the bank would be willing to pay a significant amount of money to stop allegations that it claimed were untrue.
 
The Oswals were forced to abandon the construction of their Perth mega-mansion, dubbed "the Taj on the Swan" due to its position on the Swan River, in 2010.
 
A local council announced in September that the 6,600 sq.mt house, which the couple planned to spend $53 million to build, would be demolished and turned into road-building material.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Missing Persons: What can you do if someone goes missing?
"We do not have to run around to help missing persons. What anyone can do is, if you come across any missing person, is to contact the nearest police station and a hospital, if required. For seniors who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, they always have an identification card with them. Also, they make it a habit to keep a mobile with them with numbers that can be contacted when required by someone who is helping them," says Prabhat Kumar, Special IG of Police for Law & Order in Maharashtra. He was speaking at the tenth session under the "Police & You" series.
 
Moneylife Foundation with Police Reforms Watch and support from Saraswat Bank have launched the 12-week program (every Wednesday) that aims to spread knowledge about protecting yourself, your rights, the Indian Penal Code (IPC), cybercrime and economic offences. This was the tenth such session.
 
 
Mr Kumar, the man behind Shodh, a search engine that is dedicated for searching accident victims and missing, found persons, especially in and around Mumbai, says, "The way forward for finding missing persons is to have a unified portal with an integrated system. This must run on artificial intelligence software, which can identify faces and other details. I think such an initiative will make a big difference in tracing missing persons across the country."
 
The event was held in the well-appointed auditorium of Saraswat Bank headquarters, Eknath Thakur Bhavan. 
 
The tenth session of the 12-week series on "The Police & You- Missing Persons: What can you do if someone goes missing?" was conducted by Mr Kumar, Vasant Dhoble, former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in Mumbai and noted activist Samir Zaveri.
 
Mr Dhoble, who, developed and implemented new protocols for Missing Persons Unit at Mumbai Police, which resulted in finding about 7,000 missing individuals, including children in just six months, says, "I have witnessed and rescued women and children from flesh trade, begging racket, child labour, and organ trafficking. It had become unbearable, and therefore on post-retirement, I decided to take initiative to curb such callous immoral activities. For locating mission person, we use search engine, face recognition and detection engine, web and internet services."
 
 
The former ACP, known as the second most feared policeman in Mumbai (encounter specialists were the most dreaded cops), especially among the city’s restaurants and pubs, is now using his vast network of informants and volunteers, along with some Bollywood celebrities, like Ajay Devgn, for sharing information on missing persons on a website, missingpeopleinfo.com. People whose loved ones are missing can post their information and pictures on this website. A site monitor then forwards this information to registered volunteers and shares it with the police. "The public can also join the effort," Mr Dhoble said, adding, "If they spot a person listed on missingpeopleinfo.com begging on a street or wandering around, they can click a picture and post it on the website. Volunteers will then work to locate the person."
 
Mr Dhoble also explained role and duty of police in finding missing persons. He said, "The police have to register a first information report (FIR) in case of minors and file a ‘missing report’ for adults. They need to initiate investigation in case of FIR. This includes, broadcasting wireless message about the missing person, giving information to Control Room (CR) and Missing Person Bureau (MPB) and also publishing the information in the Police Notice."
 
He said, if a person goes missing, you need to file a complaint with the Police and also post the information on www.missingpeopleinfo.com along with the FIR number or missing report. "Our team then follows up with the police and also use our database to trace or track by matching the persons’ profile. Among all the persons who are reported to be missing, actually only few of them are out of our reach. Most of them are waiting somewhere for someone to help them connect with their family. That 'someone' can be you or anyone like us. There is no better job than to help someone overcome their misery," he added. 
    
Mr Zaveri, a rail accident victim, has devoted his life to helping victims of railways accidents. He informed the audience about efforts being taken by the Central, Western Railways as well as Government Railway Police (GRP) in providing information on missing persons on rail tracks. "However," he said, "It was not easy task. I was one of the persons, who had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court. The HC in its order on 26 March 2009, directed the railways to put names of rail accident victims and other details. The Court also asked both Central and Western Railways to upload photo of the victim, if possible. Now, both the railways are following this process and to a great extent it helps in searching a missing person.
 
"When Mr Prabhat Kumar was the Commissioner of GRP, he set up a website 'Shodh', a search engine to search accident victims and missing or found persons on the railway track. Most of the times, it is the GRP, who are first to get in touch with the missing person or rail accident victim on rail tracks. So they are in a much better position to gather all information and update it on the Shodh website," Mr Zaveri added.
 
Replying to question on police not taking complaints within 24 hours, Mr Kumar said, "There is no such rule. However, what happens is that police suggest the person to search the missing person at few more locations and then come back. If they still are not able to find the person then file the complaint."
 

 

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COMMENTS

SRINIVAS SHENOY

3 months ago

What do you think?... Write your comments. The meeting on missing persons was indeed very informative. It was well attended inspite of the heavy rains. I feel that some more information need to be given on elderly people who are lost due to sickness like autism, alzheimer etc. as longevity has improved because of increased medical facilities. It was worthwhile attending despite the heavy showers. Special thanks to Moneylife Foundation, Sarawat Bank and the highly knowledgeable invitees.

Mahendra Islaniya

3 months ago

Despite heavy rain,yesterday's meeting was really great & all the three speaker Mr. Prabhatkumar IPS,Mr. Vasant Dhoble & Mr.Zaveri gave very important information when person go missing in Mumbai. Thanks to Moneylife & Saraavat bank for the Hall facility.

Highways: Investors eye acquisitions worth Rs24,500 crore
Investors are looking to pick up stake in projects worth Rs24,500 crore of completed highways, with an average of six years of operational history, estimates India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Ind-Ra, based on publicly available information as well as further limited information received from issuers, notes that the list of sellers or potential sellers include companies like HCC Concessions Ltd, NCC Infrastructure Ltd, Soma Enterprises Ltd, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd and GMR Infrastructure Ltd.
 
The agency notes that there has been a paradigm shift in the acquisitions - from developers to financial investors. "We believe that this is a positive shift and it will give impetus and provide opportunities for the opening up of businesses in the operation and maintenance vertical," it said in a research note. 
 
The Indian highway sector is witnessing an enhanced level of activity in the acquisition space, largely led by global marque funds and investors namely, I Squared Capital, Brookfield Asset Management, PSP Investments and Macquarie's India Infrastructure Fund among others. These international funds have picked up stake or are in advanced stages of acquisition of around 2,900km length of national and state highway projects. Similarly, domestic financial investors namely, IDFC India Infrastructure Fund and other infrastructure companies such as, Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd have made a mark by showing interest in deals of around 780km length of highways. With Infrastructure Investment Trusts gaining traction, Ind-Ra says it believes highways, as an asset class will further evolve and will set benchmarks.
 
Road projects worth over Rs40,000 crore, spanning around 3,600km, have either been sold off in the last three years or are currently in the process of being divested. "This recent increase in investor appetite could well be sustained, with reports doing the rounds that the government is working towards clearing the roads to provide access for global sovereign wealth funds to invest into private highway projects," the ratings agency says.
 
The ratings agency believes that the National Highway Authority of India's (NHAI) 100% exit policy, which was cleared in mid-2015 and road developers bid to deleverage their balance sheet have both aided the momentum in the last year. 
 
A study of the deals shows that out of a total of 40 deals, including the ones in the pipeline, only five projects have been or are likely to be acquired by another corporate house, while institutional investors mostly account for the balance. Barring one project, all the projects have operational history of over six years, which could well be one of the reasons for investors evincing interest, since such projects reveal actual traffic potential. National highways and toll road projects are the most in-demand projects, around 94% of highway projects in the fray are national highway projects and around 87% of the projects are toll-based projects, which normally have a higher potential of giving returns to the acquirer.
 
Ind-Ra estimates that deals which are yet to be sealed have a debt size of over Rs16,400 crore. The activity pipeline has been abuzz in the last three years and Ind-Ra estimates that the highway sector has witnessed transactions of around Rs11,100 crore in debt, during February 2013-June 2016.

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