Citizens' Issues
Kerala Information Commissioner suspended for intervening in land-gift case

A police probe came across evidence to corroborate the charge that Kerala Information Commissioner K Natarajan had urged a police official investigating the land gift case to spare CPI-M leader Achuthanandan

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor HR Bhardwaj has suspended state Information Commissioner K Natarajan for allegedly intervening in the land-gift case involving CPI(M) stalwart VS Achuthanandan, reports PTI.


Action against Natarajan, a former DIG of police, was taken on the basis of the recommendation made by the state Government following a police probe which came across evidence to corroborate the charge that the Information Commissioner had urged a police official investigating the case to spare Achuthanandan.


According to official sources, the Governor had also written to the Supreme Court to conduct a detailed inquiry into the charge to decide whether Natarajan should be terminated from the post.


Under the law, the Supreme Court was the competent authority in taking termination procedures against information commissioners.


The complaint against Natarajan was given by DySP VG Kunhan, probing the land gift case in which Achuthanandan figures as the first accused.


The inquiry conducted by ADGP (Vigilance), R Sreelekha had found that Natarajan had been putting pressure on Kunhan to spare Achuthanandan in the case. The audio tape of the conversation purportedly made by Natarajan to Kunhan was aired by Malayalam TV channels a few weeks ago.


The case against Achuthanandan pertains to alleged violation of norms while allotting land to TK Soman, an ex-serviceman and his close relative in Kasaragod district when he was Chief Minister heading the previous LDF ministry.


Achuthanandan, the then Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sheela Thomas, personal assistant Suresh and former Revenue Minister KP Rajendran are among the accused in the case. The matter came to light at the fag-end of the previous LDF rule and a vigilance probe was ordered by the present UDF government.


An FIR has been registered with Achuthanandan as the first accused in a Vigilance court at Kozhikode.


Natarajan was appointed Information Commissioner during Achuthanandan's tenure as Chief Minister.




4 years ago

The alleged land gift made by V.S. Achutanandan could be a mistake. He is a very honest man.

The Natarajan issue may be the handiwork of either the Congress or his detractors of his own party. Mr. Achutanandan does not need the help or intervention of a retd. DIG in this case.

Economy & Nation Exclusive
United Spirits shareholders have little to look forward to immediately

United Spirits earns a very poor return on capital employed and growth is in low single digits. The Sepetmber quarter was terrible, too. Diageo will have to do a lot of work before shareholders can benefit

While India will become one of the largest markets by sales for Diageo after the US, following the deal to buy a majority stake in United Spirits, and will attract more focus from senior management, it is doubtful whether shareholders will gain much in the absence of revenue and earnings momentum. Even as Diageo announced the deal, the September quarter results were highly disappointing.


  • Volumes at 28.4 million cases declined 1% y-o-y (year-on-year); analysts in brokerage firm Nomura were hoping for a growth of 5%.


  • According to the company, prestige and above segments grew 14% y-o-y in volume terms. This means, a sharp decline in regular portfolio.


  • Operating profit/case has increased 7% y-o-y to Rs99.40 whereas Nomura was expecting a 12% y-o-y jump (from a low base) to Rs104.20


  • Operating profit at Rs2.5. billion was 11% below estimates caused by a sharp rise in material costs. Gross margins dipped 550 bps y-o-y.


  • According to the company, spirit costs for the quarter are up Rs2.25 per case. This had an additional impact of Rs170 million.


  • Interest costs rose 37% y-o-y


  • Net profit (pre-exceptional) was at Rs732 million, 13% below Nomura’s expectations.


Of course, most of the cash raised will be used to pay down the debt and that will lead to significant reduction in interest costs. But this is the only positive for shareholders from this deal.


Marketing spend will be stepped up to improving the portfolio mix, said Diageo, in a conference call. It will also look closely at other parts of the business including supply chain, sourcing and outsourced manufacturing with a view to improving efficiency and improving profitability. Revenues of United Spirits have stagnated at around Rs2000 crore a quarter for the past two years while operating profit has fluctuated between Rs300 crore.




4 years ago

Traditionally the liquor business has a lot of cash components - wonder how this will be handled by an MNC.

R Balakrishnan

4 years ago

This will be an interesting one to watch. Diageo enjoys a near 30% PBT margins worldwide. The economics should be better in India, given the lower selling costs. If Diageo is able to bump up profits, it will clearly prove that the promoter returns are very different from the returns shown on the balance sheet.

RSS ideologue Vaidya blames Modi for 'campaign' against Gadkari

Vaidya said the blog post is his opinion and because Jethmalani has combined two things demanding Gadkari's resignation and making Narendra Modi as PM, he thinks the needle of suspicion points towards Gujarat

Nagpur: MG Vaidya, senior ideologue from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has stoked a major controversy by suggesting that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was behind Ram Jethmalani's demand for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari's resignation, a statement from which RSS distanced itself, reports PTI.
BJP also sought to distance itself from Vaidya's remark, saying that no such information has been given to the party.
In his blog, Vaidya has said the "needle of suspicion in the campaign against BJP president Nitin Gadkari points to Gujarat BJP and Chief Minister Narendra Modi." 
He also noted that "Ram Jethmalani had in one breath said he is seeking the resignation of Gadkari and that he also wanted to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister in 2014." 
While both LK Advani and Gadkari have publicly stated that they don't have Prime Ministerial ambitions, Vaidya, a former spokesman of RSS, said he "hasn't read anywhere that Narendra Modi has denied reports of his ambition to become the Prime Minister." 
Vaidya today stood by his remark, saying, "It is my opinion and because Jethmalani has combined two things demanding Gadkari's resignation and making Narendra Modi as PM, I think that the needle of suspicion goes to Gujarat.
"I did not say that, I just said that needle of suspicion goes to Modi and that raises suspicion if Jethmalani is entitled to his own point of view, I am also entitled to my point of view and RSS has nothing to do with it." 
However, RSS official spokesperson Ram Madhav said the views expressed in the blog by Vaidya are personal and this is "not the official RSS line." 
Reacting to Vaidya's remarks, BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said, "No such information has been given to us. We are not reacting at all. Let the inquiry be over, let there be no trial outside, it is not fair. I don't know from where this information came. I don't think that this is view of RSS. I can also tell you".
"I am also a RSS swayamsevak, with my own experience of 40 years RSS has not expressed such views, it is not an authorised opinion of RSS. Let me make it very clear. To my knowledge and understanding as a swayamsevak, I also know how RSS functions and as a BJP functionary I don't agree with reported things," Naidu said.
Earlier, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani and his son Mahesh had said Gadkari should immediately step down from his post as charges against him with regard to funding of his Purti group were damaging the party.
Jethmalani had claimed to have the support of other senior party leaders like Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha.


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