Companies & Sectors
MCX-SX gets commencement certificate from SEBI

The much-talked about trading launch of MCX-SX, the third equity exchange in the country, is likely to begin in January

Mumbai: Moving closure to the launch of the country's newest stock exchange platform, MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX) said it got the 'commencement certificate' from market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to go live with its trading operations as a full-fledged bourse, reports PTI.


The 'commencement certificate' is the final go-ahead from the SEBI for MCX-SX to go live in new product segments such as equity, wholesale debt (bonds) and interest rate derivatives, the exchange said in a statement.


The much-talked about trading launch of MCX-SX, the third equity exchange in the country, is likely to begin in January, exchange sources said.


MCX-SX is currently providing trading platform for only currency derivatives segment and would become a full-fledged stock exchange after launch of other segments like equity, equity derivatives, bonds and interest rate derivatives.


After going live, MCX-SX would compete with other full-fledged nationwide stock exchanges like the NSE and BSE.


The exchange said that SEBI has already cleared the first lot of registration of 100 members and the balance applications are expected to be cleared shortly.


Chargesheet filed in spectrum allocation case in NDA regime

The CBI in its charge sheet named Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Hutchison Max, Sterling Cellular, and former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh as accused for alleged irregularities in grant of additional spectrum during the NDA regime

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday filed a charge sheet in connection with alleged irregularities in spectrum allocation during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime involving three telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, while pegging the loss at Rs846 crore, reports PTI.


The CBI in its charge sheet filed before Special CBI Judge OP Saini named as accused Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd and Hutchison Max and Sterling Cellular, retired IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh for alleged irregularities in grant of additional spectrum.


JR Gupta, former Deputy Director General (VAS) cell of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and former Director of BSNL (state-owned telecommunications company), who was named in the First Information Report as one of the accused, has been made as one of the 73 witnesses in the case, the CBI told the court.


The agency said no action has been taken against former telecom minister Pramod Mahajan and no charges have been found against the promoters of Airtel and Vodafone.


The court has fixed 14th January for consideration of the charge sheet. .


The agency alleged in the charge sheet that the DoT had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz during Mahajan's tenure and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria.


It alleged that Mahajan had allotted addition spectrum to these companies in a hurried manner and in contravention with the then telecom policy.


The accused have been charge sheeted under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to misconduct by public servant by accepting illegal gratification by abusing his official position.


"Investigation has revealed that Shyamal Ghosh, then chairman of Telecom Commission and Secretary DoT, in conspiracy with late Pramod Mahajan, then telecom minister and the accused beneficiary companies i.e Hutchison Max and Sterling Cellular and Bharti Airtel Ltd through their representatives, abused his official position as public person and showed undue favour which caused loss of Rs 846.44 crores to the government exchequer and corresponding undue gain to the aforesaid telecom companies," it said.


The agency said this included incidental gains to other telecom companies by charging additional one per cent of AGR instead of charging the required additional two per cent of AGR for allocation of additional spectrum from 6.2 MHz upto 10 MHz."


Italian CRIF eyeing 26% stake in High Mark Credit Bureau at Rs30 per share

Troubled and cash strapped High Mark has been offered Rs30 per share by Italian credit information agency CRIF, an existing shareholder. CRIF is headed in India by old hand Larry Howell. In his previous inning, Howell successfully brought together TransUnion, which he was heading at that time, and CIBIL, India's first credit bureau

Italy-based credit services provider CRIF is trying to buy a controlling stake in High Mark Credit Information Services Pvt Ltd and given the present situation at the Indian bureau, it may well succeed. According to sources, Larry Howell, chairman of CRIF International Advisory Board is leading the negotiations with investors and promoters of High Mark. Howell represents CRIF as director at High Mark. CRIF SpA already has 9.09% stake in High Mark.


Howell was also instrumental in bringing together TransUnion and Credit Information Bureau (India) (CIBIL), India’s first credit bureau. Howell was president of TransUnion International for Asia and Europe, where he oversaw credit operations in several markets, including India, Italy, Thailand, Mainland China, Russia and Hong Kong, before joining CRIF.


According to sources, CRIF has offered to buy 26% stake in High Mark at Rs30 per share or about 3.4 million euro. The offer is valid only till 31st December. Among the investors are stock speculator Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (4.55%) and financial services company, Edelweiss (9.09%), apart from a host of banks and a few financial services companies. They have subscribed their shares at Rs12.25 apiece. In addition, CRIF said it would not block the initial public offering (IPO) of High Mark, if other shareholders also agree either to guarantee a loan, make a direct loan or invest similar amounts that of CRIF (Rs30 per share or 3.5 million euro), in case the Indian credit bureau needs funding.


As pointed out in our earlier stories, High Mark is in dire need of funds to remain operational. Bereft of a management team, which left the Bureau over differences with chairman Prof Anil Pandya and the unequal distribution of employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), High Mark is in a particularly tough spot because it does not have money to run the operations beyond two months.


According to sources, the company has almost run through the Rs43 crore it raised and is about to cease operations in a couple of months, unless it finds a new investor. Prof Pandya, in an email told Moneylife that “High mark is raising funds to maintain its momentum in the market."


Earlier, when High Mark tried to raise funds through a rights issue, several of its existing investors refused to participate. Sources say that some of these investors are miffed at the changes at the top, such as Sidhharth Das who was the chief operating officer and Kiran Moras who was the architect of the system.


CRIF’s offer to High Mark shareholders suggests a change of name to High Mark CRIF India, from High Mark. According to the terms of the offer, the board of High Mark would appoint a management committee of three people. The chief executive (CEO) of High Mark would report to this committee headed by a representative of CRIF.


In addition, post takeover, the executive chairman of High Mark, Anil Pandya, will become non-executive chairman, 60 days after hiring a new CEO.


While the present board at High Mark was generous in doling out ESOPs and paid trips abroad to its directors, the same may not be possible post the takeover. Howell in his offer has categorically ruled out granting any ESOPs and foreign travel expenses to directors of High Mark, except for the non-executive chairman. CRIF’s offer, after being accepted by High Mark shareholders and the board will have to be acceptable to the Reserve Bank of India as well.


As reported earlier by Moneylife, four independent directors, Dipankar Basu (1.63 lakh), Vepa Kamesam (1.63 lakh), Rajiv Johri (6.53 lakh) and Shyam Sunder Suri (6.53 lakh) and its chairman Prof Anil Pandya (3.27 lakh), together hold 70% of ESOPs in High Mark. ( It was not clear to the employees what exactly they have contributed after getting the licence from RBI.


Read the previous two articles on High Mark here: High Mark Credit: Four directors and chairman bagged 70% of the ESOPs  and Is High Mark Credit Info about to cease operations?


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)