Citizens' Issues
NAPM says builder mafia behind arrest of RTI activist Kamlakar Shenoy

National Alliance of People’s Movements considers protest petition to the government for targeting Mr Shenoy who had filed complaint on slum rehabilitation scam

National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) will send a petition to the government, protesting against the arrest of RTI activist Kamlakar Shenoy last week. Mr Shenoy was arrested by Vasai police on Saturday evening, at Dadar, and he has been remanded for three days police custody. He has been arrested on two-year-old complaint by a builder under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.

Activists have alleged that Mr Shenoy's arrest is the handiwork of a builder mafia that is pressurising the Maharashtra government to withdraw the resolution that was promulgated after a nine-day fast by Ms Medha Patkar for an independent inquiry into scams related to slum rehabilitation projects. NAPM says Shivalik Ventures, a construction company, is behind Mr Shenoy's arrest, as he had blown the lid off the Golibar land scam in which the company is alleged to have been involved.

Mr Shenoy had exposed that Shivalik had flouted several rules in 150 buildings, cheated CIDCO of Rs2 crore in revenue and had illegally encroached on the firing range of the Indian Air Force in Golibar. Shivalik had stated that the land never belonged to the army and it had approached the government for a no-objection certificate to start construction on a land area of 62 acres.

After Mr Shenoy lodged a complaint before the Magistrate's Court, Shivalik's proprietor Ramakant Jadhav filed a complaint under the Prevention of Atrocities Act against Mr Shenoy, alleging that the company was being harassed wrongfully. Acting on Mr Shenoy's complaint, in August 2010 the court issued summons to 11 people from the management of Shivalik Ventures, the Nallasopara Municipal Corporation, having found prima facie evidence against them.

Mr Shenoy was arrested on Saturday in relation to this 2008 case, for which the police have failed to come up with any evidence. "We would also like to point out that there are hundreds of cases of atrocities against Dalits and adivasis across Maharashtra by the land mafia. It is against such people that the Atrocities Act should actually be used," said NAPM spokesperson Santosh Daundkar.

"Meanwhile, we are trying to get him bail", Mr Daundkar said. "We will definitely go forward with a petition. But whether or not a formal protest will be launched will be decided only after Mr Shenoy is released."

Mr Shenoy is currently in a police lock-up at Vasaigaon Police Station.



nagesh kini

5 years ago

Mr. Shenoy's arrrest makes a mockery of the RTI and the need for the immediate bringing in of the Whitsleblower Protection. All right thinking RTI activists ought to bail Mr. Shenoy. Right away.

India waiting: Market wilting under government indecision

More than 80 Bills are pending since 2008. There is not much hope that they will see the light of day soon

The government has made a fantastic job of tabling Bills in Parliament and then sitting on them. While the scam-tainted government waits for the problems to dissolve themselves, its failure to implement important Bills and formulate policies seems to be giving the market a hard time.

Broking firm Macquarie Securities has released a report where it has analysed some of the crucial Bills and the factors that have affected India Inc's market performance. Not only have they found many of these Bills inadequate and that they have been watered down during revisions, the firm feels that there is "little hope" that the government will come to a decision any time soon.

"There has been a spate of policy decisions from the government lately that are aimed at clearing the pile ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament and the UP (Uttar Pradesh) elections next year. In our view the government has not fared well in making these decisions as some of them appear superficial," said the report.

Of the approximately 80 bills that are pending, three-quarters have built up over the past two years alone. Some of the important Bills and reforms pending are-Mines and Mineral Development Act that will see 26% of mining profits being shared with locals affected, Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill which has seen a deadlock between states and the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), The National Identification Authority of India Bill, the Bill on establishing a real estate regulator, amendments on banking laws & labour laws, the Direct Taxes Code, the Goods and Services Tax, pension reforms, FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail and reform in land acquisition laws.

The report has also commented on the government's attempts to project 'a semblance of activity'—like the Cabinet reshuffle and the states' power minister's conference.

"The only change of any significance was the replacement of Jairam Ramesh with Jayanthi Natarajan which was also reflected in the performance of stocks like Sterlite (STLT) and Coal India (CIL) in an otherwise unresponsive market. (As far as the) State power minister's conference (is concerned)—while it would certainly be a major positive for the sector—it should be noted that (the) Government power policy rarely gets implemented as planned. Most private sector participants appeared cautious about the implementation of such measures," says the report.

The few policies the government has formulated have failed to produce desired results. The government has failed to curb inflation, and another hike is expected from the RBI. The hike in fuel prices, which happened after almost a year of delay, is likely to add to the core inflation rate. The hike has offset the reduced subsidy with a revenue loss from duty cuts. The much-awaited draft Bill on food security was passed only recently, but the media is awash with all its shortcomings.

The country is already feeling the heat of governance deficit. If the indecision hits the market harder, the government has only itself to blame.




5 years ago

MMS is setting a new trend now. Daily going and signing the attendance register at Sonia's house and await orders from her for that days actions and non-actions. He has also beaten the record of Narasimma Rao as the most tight lipped PM. The power and post has turned a reputed administrator into a helpless puppet.


5 years ago

When Manmohan Singh was made PM people in the country expected him to make fast progress in the reform road. But instead he focused on the Neuclear treaty and sacrificed the rest of the reform agenda on the altar of pleasing his masters in US.

Govind Gopal Shanbhag

5 years ago

MLDT - If you take out the record of running of honorary parliament, no.of days non working are more than actual running. With some reason or other proceedings are disrupted and sessions are adjourned. For the last 4-5 years, where is the discussion on important budget which is passed on the last day as if the budget is not passed monetary system will collapse as nobody will have authority to spend.

Parsvnath to axe six SEZ projects due to tax uncertainties

Parsvnath has requested for withdrawal of in-principle approval, citing economic (in the realty market) slowdown, Direct Tax Code and imposition of MAT as the reason for the same, the commerce ministry said

New Delhi: Several realty firms, including Parsvnath, have sought the government's nod to shelve their special economic zone (SEZ) projects amid continued tax uncertainties, reports PTI.

Among others, Parsvnath SEZ-a Parsvnath Group subsidiary-has offered to surrender six SEZs in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra that had earlier been granted in-principle approval by the government.

"The developer has requested for withdrawal of in-principle approval, citing economic (in the realty market) slowdown, Direct Tax Code (DTC), imposition of minimum alternate tax (MAT) as the reason for the same," an official in the commerce ministry said.

Parsvnath's request for pulling out from the SEZ projects and other applications will come up before the inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA), which is scheduled to meet on 22nd July.

Besides Parsvnath, other developers that want to exit from their SEZ projects include Juventus Builders and Developers, Alok Infrastructure, Oval Developers, Airmid Developers and NG Realty.

Parsvnath had got in-principle approval for leather and handicrafts SEZs at Agra and Moradabad, respectively, a gems and jewellery tax-free zone in Jaipur, a food processing SEZ in Sonepat, an auto component zone in Pune and a multi-product SEZ in Kanceepuram.

The draft DTC has proposed withdrawal of exemptions for new units that come up after the tax code is implemented and replacement of tax exemption on profits for developers with sops on investments.

The DTC is expected to be implemented from the next fiscal.

The industry has also expressed concern over the imposition of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) of 18.5% on the book profits of SEZ developers and units.

Under the SEZ Act, SEZ units get 100% tax exemption on profits earned for the first five years, a 50% exemption for the next five years and another 50% exemption on re-invested profits in the following five years.

SEZ developers, on the other hand, get 100% tax exemption on profits for ten years, which they can choose in the block of the first fifteen years.

Five developers have approached the BoA to de-notify their tax-free enclaves.

In addition, as many as 45 SEZ developers, including Raheja SEZ, Navi Mumbai and GP Realtors, have sought more time to execute their projects.

SEZs in India have emerged as manufacturing and export bases.

Meanwhile, two developers-Radiant Corporation and Anique Infrastructure-have requested permission to set up new tax-free enclaves in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, respectively.

Exports from SEZs increased by 43% to Rs3,15,868 crore in 2010-11 vis-à-vis the same period of the previous fiscal. A total of 6.76 crore jobs were also generated.


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