Citizens' Issues
Land grab case: Magistrate probe ordered against Kripashankar Singh

The High Court directed the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to conduct an inquiry into the allegations against the former chief of Mumbai Congress and submit a report before the court within two weeks

 
Mumbai: In fresh trouble for Kripashankar Singh, the Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered a magistrate inquiry against the former Mumbai Congress chief following a petition by a city-based social worker, who has accused the leader of threatening him after usurping his properties, reports PTI.
 
A division bench of Justices VM Kanade and PD Kode was hearing the petition filed by one Tulsidas Nair alleging that Kripashankar and his son had usurped his properties worth crores and are now threatening to kill him if he doesn't evict his house in suburban Kalina.
 
According to Nair, Kripashankar usurped several of his properties in Kalina, Vakola and Bandra worth crores. "Since 2007, he (Kripashankar) has been sending his henchmen to my house in Kalina who assaulted and threaten to kill me if I continue my litigation against him," Nair said.
 
When prosecutor PS Hingorani informed the court that following order from another bench of the High Court an armed constable has been assigned to the petitioner for protection, Nair claimed that the police are hand in glove with the Congress leader.
 
The Court after perusing certain photographs and documents submitted by Nair directed the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to conduct and inquiry into the allegations and submit a report before the court within two weeks.
 
Apart from the magistrate, the bench has also directed the State Human Rights Commission to make inquiry into the case.
 
"If we notice that something is amiss then we will pass strictures against the concerned police and somebody will lose their job," Justice Kanade said.
 
The court has also directed the Director General of Police (Protection) to assign someone for Nair's protection.
 
Kripashankar is already facing probe for amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. A special investigation team of the Economic Offences Wing of the city police had registered FIR against Kripashankar following High Court directions.
 
The direction was passed during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by one Sanjay Tiwari.
 

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Mahindra & Mahindra post 22.2% increase in net profit despite challenging conditions

Mahindra & Mahindra, a market leader in the utility vehicle segment, came out strong by posting healthy sales and profit figures despite a very challenging economic climate

 
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), one of the largest utility vehicles manufacturers in India, reported strong standalone revenues growth of 33% year-on-year (y-o-y), to Rs9,812.96 crore on the back of good volume performance by the automotive sector. Its tight control on expenses saw its operating profit grow 27% y-o-y to Rs11,18.92 crore, while net profit grew 22.2% y-o-y from Rs737.38 crore to Rs901.80 crore. All figures are standalone. In an otherwise challenging industry and economic climate, the company has done well. 
 
We referred to our Moneylife database to see whether this growth rate was abnormal or part of its long-term trend. We found out that its sales growth nearly was almost equal to its three-quarter y-o-y average growth rate of 37%, while its operating profit trumped its average three-quarter growth rate of 21%, underlying its success in reining in costs. Its return on networth stood at 26% while its valuation was in double digits, with market capitalisation 11.37 times its operating profit. 
 
In the passenger utility vehicle (UV) segment, M&M sold 62,751 vehicles in the reporting quarter, up 32% from the amount it sold in the corresponding period last year. It launched the all-new compact and versatile sports utility vehicle (SUV) Quanto to strengthen its portfolio in the UV segment. Quanto generated 5,000 bookings in the first three weeks of its launch. The company enjoys its leadership position in the UV segment with a market share of 45.4%. In the cars segment, it sold 4,899 units of the Verito model. As a whole, the company exported 10,349 vehicles in the current quarter, which is 43% higher than what it sold last year. However, it fared poorly in the tractor segment, due to an erratic monsoon, with de-growth of 12% year-on-year, with 47,065 tractors sold. Its market share in this segment stood at 40.3%. 
 
During the quarter, the company saw its foreign institutional investor (FII) holding increase from 27.58% to 30% and domestic institutional investor (DII) actually decrease by 1.37 percentage points to 18.60%. The promoter shareholding also declined, marginally, by 10 basis percentage points to 25.35%.
 
The company believes its long-term prospects remains intact despite inherent risks over the short-term in light of the Eurozone crisis and escalation of tensions in the Middle East. The company said in its statement, “The current economic situation is quite challenging. However, the company through its continuous focus on new product introduction, process innovation and cost control, expects to rise to this challenge adequately.”
 
The stock settled 3.59% higher at Rs857.55 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today. 
 

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Fall in demand for fertilizers; dealers benefit by discounts

Pesticides’ demand is better than that of fertilizers and offers positive outlook, says Espirito Santo Securities in its market update on the agri-inputs sector

 
Fertilizer dealers have pointed out that it would take some more time for demand to pick up in the fertilizers’ market. Farmers have still not fully accepted the current prices of complex fertilizers. Inventory in the entire supply chain remains high on the back of low demand and channel filling in the last quarter of FY12 (to gain the benefit of higher subsidy). These are some of the observations in the market update on the agri-inputs sector by Espirito Santo Securities.
 
Fertilizer companies have started giving discounts of about Rs1500 per tonne to dealers leading to improvement in margins for dealers. Fertilizer demand has also being impacted because of electricity issues in Andhra Pradesh as farmers cannot draw water for agriculture. Fertilizer companies have changed their credit policy from advance payment in FY12, to now offering credit of 60-90 days, observes the analyst. 
 
The consumption of SSP has not increased significantly as dealers are not opting to deal with smaller manufacturers of SSP. At present the majority of SSP manufacturers are small companies. This will change as bigger companies enter this space, according to the market update report.
 
In the pesticides market, demand is better than that for fertilizers and offers positive outlook. Pesticide consumption has been good because of high pest incidence this year. Incidence of Thrips in the BT Cotton crop this year was relatively high versus the last 10 years and has impacted the cotton crop significantly, resulting in crop loss to the extent of 15%. This also shows that pests are developing resistance with older pesticides and BT seeds. This resulted in increased sale of insecticides used to combat Thrips attacks. Companies like Bayer, Rallis & Dow have products in insecticides to control Trips attack in BT Cotton.
 
According to Espirito Santo, the acreage of sugar cane and corn has increased as they need less water, while sowing of paddy is down as compared to previous year. This will lead to a change in consumption pattern of pesticides. Consumption of pesticides is relatively higher in paddy and products of Bayer and Rallis are doing well as these companies have a variety of products in their portfolio and have created good brand image amongst farmers, observes Espirito Santo. The majority of agro chemical companies were resorting to channel filling in September. All agro chemical companies, including Rallis, have increased credit period to dealers.
 
In the seeds market, the industry at the sweet spot is poised for higher growth. Although Kaveri Seeds was a late entrant in the seed industry compared to the likes of Nuziveedu, the brand has become quite strong and is doing well. Through the launch of blockbuster products like ‘Jaadoo’ and ‘Jackpot’ Kaveri has started gaining acceptance from farmers. Nuziveedu & MICO have already started accepting advance booking for the next season, which typically happens in December. Kaveri Seeds has not yet opened its bookings. This will impact Kaveri seeds as dealers will be left with limited money to give advances to Kaveri Seeds. The seed industry is the most lucrative space in the agri-input domain as it has highest profitability, highest growth rate, highest scope of product differentiation and most sticky brand loyalty, sums up the analyst. 
 

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