Regulations
Mallya can return to India on emergency travel document: ED
Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday told a court here that liquor baron Vijay Mallya can obtain emergency travel document to visit India and can face a case of alleged violation of foreign exchange rules against him.
 
The ED's Public Prosecutor Navin Matta requested Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass to reject Mallya's plea for exemption from personal appearance before the court.
 
"...the accused (Mallya) may visit the nearest High Commission of India and obtain an emergency travel document and visit India on the basis authorised travel document obtained from the High Commission of India," Prosecutor Matta told the court.
 
Mallya on September 9 sought exemption from personal appearance in court and said he is unable to return to the country and face trial in a case of alleged violation of foreign exchange rules as the Indian authorities had suspended his passport.
 
On July 9, the court asked Mallya to personally appear before it on September 9, after allowing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea to withdraw the exemption given to him from personal appearance in the case.
 
Mallya's counsel Ajay Bhargava moved a plea seeking exemption from his personal appearance and told the court that his client is living in London.
 
The court has fixed the matter for November 4 for further hearing.
 
Earlier, the court had allowed the ED plea to seek recall of a court order that granted permanent exemption from appearance to Mallya, who faces money laundering charges in India.
 
The court was hearing the final arguments in the 2000 case related to alleged violation by Mallya of provisions of the erstwhile Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) in arranging funds to advertise his company's liquor products abroad."
 
According to the ED, Mallya allegedly paid $200,000 to a British firm for displaying the Kingfisher logo in the Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
 
The agency had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval from the Reserve Bank of India, in violation of FERA norms.
 
Mallya was summoned and tried in the case. He was granted exemption from personal appearance by the Delhi court on December 20, 2000.
 
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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CIC rejects RTI appeal of Income Tax ‘informer’ regarding assets of 100 I-T officers
Rakesh Kumar Gupta, who claimed to be an informer to the Income Tax department (I-T Dept), filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, seeking information of all the records available with the I-T Dept in respect of several assessees for various assessment years.  The information related to all officers working in all wings of Income Tax Offices in Delhi, Central Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai, which amounted to 100 odd officers.
 
Gupta had asked for soft copies of all records of these officers, which included their asset statements as well asset statements of their spouses and persons dependent on them for the last 10 years; details of immoveable assets acquired by them in the last 10 years along with their sources. He also wanted inspection of all these records under Section 4 of the RTI Act.
 
The Central Information Commission (CIC) Bench comprising Basant Seth and Prof M Sridhar Acharyulu recently heard Gupta’s second appeal. His RTI application dates back to 2011.The bench rejected his second appeal on the grounds that information sought by him was not in public interest but it was a means of making money from the I-T Dept. The Bench observed that Gupta being an ‘informer’ as claimed by him, would be earning reward money from information he would obtain, which is 10% of the amount recovered by the I-T Dept, on the basis of his information.
 
The CIC order quoted specific sections in the RTI Act to dispose of the case. It states, “As per Section 6(2), the applicant need not give reasons for demanding information. But under Section 8 the appellant has to inform the public interest; under Section 11, the Public Information Officer (PIO) has to examine whether there is any public interest in this demand.” 
 
The bench further observed, “Most important factor to be noticed is that appellant is ‘informer’, which means he earns money at the rate of 10% of the tax amount recovered from the taxpayers because of the information given. The question to be considered is, if he is using RTI route to collect information and verify whether assessee has suppressed income and provides that information to the I-T office. If his tip off results in recovery, he would get 10% as incentive. Whether RTI can be used to advance income interest of individual becoming ‘informer’, or whether ‘informer’ has right to such information that could fetch him income?’’
 
Gupta contended that since incentive to reveal such income related information helps the state to enhance income, it is in public interest and thus he can also seek the information.
 
The bench replied saying, “How can taking information from the I-T department, to give it back to the same office and making money be considered as ‘public interest’? In fact, this speaks of ‘system’ of the I-T Dept or their efficiency. If their information could be analysed and used for enhancing recovery by an individual outsider, why not the Department itself do that job? On this logic, it cannot be considered to be in public interest.”
 
“(The) Applicant being an ‘informer’ he is interested in his incentive which is 10% of recovered tax amount from tax evaders, based on information given by the informer. There are instances ‘informer’ claimed crores of rupees as incentive, which resulted in capping of incentive at Rs2.5 lakh in 2015. This appellant wanted entire files of assets of 101 officers mentioned and hundreds of others covered in vague reference. If given, anyone can open an office¬-cum¬-workshop, probe individual officers along with their officers, assess tax evasion and give information about tax evasion to the Department so that he will earn his share. He claims that because he is a citizen he has right to information for this purpose, he is serving nation’s interest and hence there is public interest.”
 
The Bench cited several cases where Gupta had filed similar applications, which comprised a large amount of information. The Bench also observed that he seeks exceptionally large amount of information, and said, “It will be mind-blowing to assess the quantum of information demanded -¬ almost all office records about assets of 101 officers their spouses, dependents. It takes decades for any office to compile this information. This is only from one RTI application. He filed umpteen numbers of applications like this. Twenty of his RTI questions are referred to before this bench.”
 
CIC Bench Decision:
  • Income Tax Returns (ITRs) are held to be personal information of third parties squarely attracting S. 8(1)(j) of RTI Act. However, this section along with S. 11(1) & S. 8(2) provided for exception in case of larger public interest. The appellant failed to establish Public interest while the Public Authority successfully shown that that there was no public interest. The Commission concludes that Mr. Rakesh Kumar Gupta couldn’t show any public interest apparently motivated by some other interest and being a professional ‘informer’ he might have been interested in increasing his income by means of securing ‘incentive’ by giving Tax Evasion information. Mr. Rakesh Kumar Gupta was not just exercising his right to information. 
 
“…Mr. Rakesh Kumar Gupta cannot be encouraged to misuse RTI. Indiscriminate demand of voluminous information is not only abuse of right by the petitioner but also threatens the core function of the public authority.”
 
The CIC bench referred to an order passed by the Supreme Court.
 
“It is relevant to refer to what the Supreme Court in CBSE vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay, (2011) 8 SCC 497, said such frivolous applicants:
Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under the RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counterproductive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty... The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising ‘information furnishing’ at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
 

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COMMENTS

Sadanand Patwardhan

5 months ago

Quote
“How can taking information from the I-T department, to give it back to the same office and making money be considered as ‘public interest’? In fact, this speaks of ‘system’ of the I-T Dept or their efficiency. If their information could be analysed and used for enhancing recovery by an individual outsider, why not the Department itself do that job?
unquote
If this is quoted from the CIC order, then it is faulty reasoning.
1. What is taken from IT Dept is DECLARED INCOME of Assessee. What would be given back to IT Dept is the Extent of CONCEALED INCOME, which will be the VALUE ADDITION of Informer cum RTI applicant.
2. In case IT Dept knows the extent of Concealment, then it obviously doesn't want it's Own Skin to Play in the Game of Tax Recovery and is therefore ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT.

GLN Prasad

5 months ago

This is a bad decision given by most competent commissioners who are sincere. They ignored the transparency and accountability hidden in the information sought. As far as I know, no sincere officer even after retirement can on his own can even purchase a 2BHK apartment and can not afford to spend such lavish life. An unfortunate decision, when the country wishes to unearth black money at any cost and Govt is itself waiving all such penalties. What is the wrong the informer has done, when it is not his business and he may earn just 10% which is negligible with what Govt is supposed to earn ? Are they paying without pains or risks by informer ? Is the informer not taking any risks even to his life ? The petty 10% incentive is just for taking risks of his life . Why he has chosen only one dept ?. Are the tax payers not aware as to where the corruption was rampant without exception ?

SuchindranathAiyerS

5 months ago

The RTI law, like all Indian laws, is well framed by Kleptocrats to protect their own. And they do. Which is why every criminal in India walks free while the innocents suffer:

NPAs need firm but pragmatic handling so as not to hit credit: RBI
The issue of non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans, particularly of state-run banks, needs to be dealt with firmly, as well as with pragmatism to ensure that economic activity is not affected by drying up of credit, Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel said on Tuesday.
 
"The RBI is giving a lot of attention to the NPAs issue. It needs to be dealt with firmness, as well as with pragmatism to ensure that there is no drying up of credit, that there is no lack of credit in the economy," Patel told reporters here following the announcement of RBI's first bi-monthly monetary policy review by a newly-constituted committee.
 
"The four pillars of the strategy to deal with NPAs are identification, reporting, recording and resolution. It is the fourth pillar of resolving the NPAs issue that has been lagging behind the other three," he said.
 
Noting that there were many reasons for the huge accumulation of NPAs, the new governor of the RBI, who assumed charge last month, said that five sectors -- infrastructure, steel, textiles, power and telecom -- accounted for most of banks' NPAs in India.
 
Indian state-run banks have collectively made an operating profit of nearly Rs 35,000 crore this fiscal, but the massive provisioning for bad debts has pared their net profit down to Rs 222 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters last month, adding they had finally turned the corner and reported a cumulative net profit.
 
Many state-run banks had reported huge losses for the first quarter ended June, owing to a sharp rise in provisioning for NPAs (Non Performing Assets) on account of an asset quality review ordered by the Reserve Bank of India.
 
Jaitley held a quarterly performance review meeting here in September with the Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors of public sector banks (PSBs) and financial institutions. 
 
The government has recently announced infusion of Rs 22,915 crore capital for 13 PSBs, as part of the first tranche of capital infusion for the current fiscal.
 
"The broad picture is that PSBs still face the challenge of high NPAs. Detailed discussions have taken place in this regard, while the new RBI norms and changes in legislation like the new Bankruptcy Code and the DRT (Debt Recovery Tribunal) law have helped to empower the banks," Jaitley said.
 
Gross NPAs of the PSBs have surged from 5.43 per cent of the total advances (Rs 2.67 lakh crore) in 2014-15, to 9.32 per cent (Rs 4.76 lakh crore) in 2015-16.
 
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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COMMENTS

Ramesh Poapt

5 months ago

amt of restructred advancres?, amt where rest.adv.went bad?,A4S-5:25
amt of advances? protection to stressed sectors by MIP by depriving indian consumers of low international prevailing cost? cost of not allowing bubble to burst in ailing sectors ? unduly protecting defaulters to undervalue reporting?

GLN Prasad

5 months ago

There are two more questions never answered except total profit by all PSUs this year. What were the total NPAs written off from the last 5 years ? Where the money advanced has gone ? I do admit that some circumstances may be beyond the control of any bank, but not certainly in all cases . How effectively PSUs used the CBI for their recover, identification ? Who were the promoters ? We blame agricultural loan waiver given twice or thrice so far , but do not consider the total NPAs written off and the percentage of agriculture alone in such total amount. What happened to the real estate (land and buildings) and other collateral securities, ? Which segment is not faring well and what are the lessons and directives given by RBI after data analysis. This has to be published in larger public interest.

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