Amway India chief William Scott Pinckney and two other directors are arrested by Kerala Police over financial irregularities
Crime Branch officials of Kerala police arrested Amway India’s managing director and chief executive William Scott Pinckney and two other directors of the multi-level marketing (MLM) company, says a news report from Mathrubhumi.com. The names of the directors are not yet confirmed, but according to initial reports, it may be Sanjay Malhotra and Anju.
According to the report, the arrests have been made in relation to two cases of fraud registered against the Pinckney in Wayanad district of Kerala. The Amway India chief was in the state to secure anticipatory bail in these cases. He already got a bail in another case registered against him in Kozhikode district.
Earlier, the Crime Branch had seized products worth Rs2.5 crore from various godowns across the state and arrested the Kerala chief of the company.
There were complaints that Amway had supplied new products to distributors at high price. Lakhs of rupees thus collected was invested in the insurance business, the report said.
A probe into the multilevel marketing firm found that products that were Rs37 was sold to consumers for Rs 395 as MRP.
Last year in November, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Kerala Police, conducted searches at the offices of Amway at Kozhikode, Thrissur and Kannur as part of its crackdown on money chain activities and closed down the firm's godowns at these centres. Products valued at Rs2.14 crore were also seized.
DoT, in its contempt plea, had said that instead of complying with the orders passed by the high court, Idea Cellular had filed an additional affidavit stating that it has “additionally decided” to provide 3G services to those existing customers who meet the criteria
The Delhi High Court today issued contempt notices against telecom major Idea Cellular (ICL) and its Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla for allegedly disobeying its earlier order by providing 3G services to new customers in circles where it lacks the requisite licences.
Justice Rajiv Shakdhar asked the telecom company and five others including Birla to file their responses within four weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on 5th August.
Besides the telecom company and its chairman, the court also issued notices to Himanshu Kapania, managing director of ICL, Akshya Moondra, chief financial officer of the firm, P Lakshminarayana and Pankaj Kapdeo, company secretaries of ICL.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had earlier moved the court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the telecom firm and its office bearers for “wilful and deliberate” disobedience of a judicial order passed on 12th April by which ICL was restrained from providing 3G services to its new customers.
DoT, in its contempt plea, had said that instead of complying with the orders passed by this court, the petitioner (Idea Cellular) had filed an additional affidavit stating that it has “additionally decided” to provide 3G services to those existing customers who meet the criteria. There are no criteria provided by this court, it had said.
“The order of 12th April is clear and has to be obeyed in its entirely. The petitioner, under the garb of so-called criteria, has modified the condition imposed by this court on 12th April... Therefore, it amounts to contempt of the said order,” it had said.
Earlier, in pursuance of a Supreme Court order on a plea moved by Bharti Airtel, the high court had restrained DoT from taking any “coercive steps” against Vodafone and Idea Cellular which were asked to pay penalty of Rs550 crore and Rs 300 crore respectively for providing 3G facilities outside their circles without the requisite licences.
The court had, however, put a condition on the telecom majors, including Idea Cellular, that they will not provide 3G services to new customers in the circles for which they lacked licences.
Besides initiation of contempt proceedings, DoT has also sought dismissal of Idea Cellular’s plea against its notice demanding Rs300 crore as penalty for providing 3G services in circles including Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, the north east, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Delhi.
In addition to Idea Cellular, Vodafone had also moved the high court against a penalty of Rs550 crore imposed on it by DoT for providing 3G services outside their licensed circles.
Both the telecom firms got the relief from the court which followed the apex court order on a similar plea of Bharti Airtel.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre not to take any coercive step against Bharti Cellular and asked the telecom company not to extend its roaming services to new customers in seven circles where it does not have licences for 3G spectrum.
Bharti Cellular (BCL) had moved the apex court after the division bench of the high court vacated its stay on the operation of a DoT notice against BCL for providing 3G services outside its licensed circles.
DoT had, in separate notices, asked all the three telecom firms to pay the penalties and stop offering 3G mobile phone services in circles where they did not win spectrum in the 2010 auction of the radio waves.
MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha decide their own salary and perks. Has the time come when pay, perks and privileges of Parliamentarians may be fixed on recommendations of some outside agency like Pay Commissions?
Many members of Parliament (MPs) appointing their family members, like sons, daughters, wives, brothers, sisters and other close relatives, as personal staffers and getting them paid salaries from the government is not new. Although this is neither illegal nor there any bar on such hiring, the question is why the exchequer should be burdened with this extra payload when the MPs are being paid handsomely, asks an activist.
According to RTI (Right to Information) activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal, time has come when pay, perks and privileges of Parliamentarians may be fixed on recommendations of some outside agency like Pay Commissions set up for recommending pay-scale of government employees.
“It is unfair that Parliamentarians may themselves become decisive authorities for deciding their pay, perks and privileges costing heavily to the exchequer apart from being conflict of interest. It is significant that any bill to increase pay, perks and privileges is passed at supersonic speed without much discussion many-a-times in late evening sessions,” he said.
Following an amendment in the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Member of Parliament Act, 1954, salaries of MPs were increased to Rs50,000 per month from Rs16,000 in December 2010. During Parliament session MPs receive Rs2,000 extra per day. MPs are also entitled for Rs25,000 per month as pension.
Under the salary and allowances rules, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats pay Rs30,000 per month to those employed by MPs for secretarial or personal assistance. This amount can be paid entirely to one personal assistant or an MP can split the amount between more than one assistant.
According to a news report in the Indian Express, these family PAs for MPs include 60 sons, 36 wives, 27 daughters, seven brothers, seven daughters-in-law, four husbands and 10 cousins, among others.
Salary paid to kin of MPs is an indirect addition to already handsomely paid pay and perks available to Parliamentarians in addition to costly privileges to them in name of salary paid to their staffers. Since Parliamentarians cutting across party lines are beneficiary of such liberal rules, even the Ethics Committee of the Parliament does not find it necessary to curb such indirect addition to salary of Parliamentarians received in name of their kin.
According to the newspaper report, ironically though, at least three MPs on the 14-member Lok Sabha Ethics Committee—Dara Singh Chauhan, Sumitra Mahajan and Prem Das Rai—and one MP on the 10-member Rajya Sabha ethics panel, EMS Natchiappan, are themselves on the list of MPs employing close relatives as PAs.
“Although there is no bar on appointing close relatives as personal staff, propriety demands that MPs should think and carefully consider before appointing relatives as PAs. I have been appointed chairman of this committee very recently and will consider this issue when it comes before the committee,” the report says quoting Sis Ram Ola, chairman of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee.
Of the 146 MPs employing close relatives as PAs, 38 are from the BJP, 36 from Congress, 15 from BSP, 12 from Samajwadi Party, eight from DMK, seven from Biju Janata Dal, six from JD(U) and the rest from other parties, the newspaper report says.
Mr Agarwal said, “Chairpersons of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha should take all necessary steps to stop such indirect addition to Parliamentarians’ salary in name of salary paid to their kin as their respective staffer. Even President of India as head of the Parliament should intervene to curb such unhealthy practice of kin of Parliamentarians being paid salary in name of their personal staffers.”
“Parliamentarians should get a net fixed salary inclusive of all with salary paid on basis of cards punched while entering and leaving the House. It is unfair that Parliamentarians get salary and daily allowance even for entering the House for a short while,” he added.