During the year, the corporate world found itself on tenterhooks as various scams in the telecom and the mining sector came under the prying eyes of the apex court
New Delhi: The corporate world in 2011 found itself on tenterhooks as various scams in the telecom and the mining sector came under the prying eyes of the Supreme Court, reports PTI.
Business tycoons like Ambanis, Tatas and Ruias had to face legal battles that kept share prices of their companies fluctuating in bourses and the constant monitoring of the probe into the second generation (2G) scam resulted in the arrest of political heavyweights and high-profile corporate honchos.
The telecom scam and the issues concerning the sector also brought anxious moments for Home Minister P Chidambaram and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal who had to put to use all legal resources available with them to counter various allegations against them.
Mr Sibal wriggled himself out of the allegation of reducing a penalty amount favouring Anil Ambani-headed RCom but the apex court reserved its order on the plea for a probe into the alleged role of Mr Chidambaram in the 2G scam after the CBI and government made a spirited defence of him in the court.
However, when Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy was launching a legal salvo against the telecom companies and the home minister in the 2G case, the finance ministry note to Prime Minister Office signed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee brought further embarrassment to Mr Chidambaram.
The note stated that Mr Raja, the former telecom minister who is behind the bars, alone could not be blamed for the loss to the exchequer in 2G allocation as Mr Chidambaram, who was the Finance Minister in 2008, could have suggested sale of radio waves through auction.
Due to the strict monitoring of the cases, Reddy brothers of Karnataka, ex-telecom minister A Raja, his DMK colleague Kanimozhi, corporate bigwigs from Reliance ADAG, Swan Telecom and Unitech Ltd hogged the attention with the legal battle concerning the business world in the apex court.
The parallel inquiry set up by Mr Sibal to examine the actual loss to the exchequer in the 2G scam did not help any as the apex court gave free hand to the CBI and Enforcement Directorate to go ahead with their probe uninfluenced by "high and mighty" which eventually resulted in the arrest of 14 influential people.
While Mr Raja was the first to be arrested along with his private secretary RK Chandolia and former telecom Secretary Sidharth Behura, the days ahead witnessed the same fate for Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and top corporate honchos -- Sanjay Chandra of Unitech, Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, both promoters of Swan Telecom and DB Realty.
Three top corporate managers of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair -- also spent around seven months in jail along with DMK-run Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar, film producer Karim Morani and two other businessmen -- Asif Balwa and Rajeev Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd.
While the arrest of the high-profile accused was the high-water mark in the case, more trouble was in store for the corporate houses like RADAG's Reliance Telecom, Mr Balwa's Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd which were also made accused in the case.
Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said the bill passed in Lok Sabha was "useless" as it was not the one people asked for. Our protest and fast is on. We will now see what will happen in Rajya Sabha, he said
New Delhi: Voicing disappointment over passage of a "useless" Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha, Team Anna on Wednesday said it appeared the legislation is headed for a joint session of Parliament as the Rajya Sabha may pass a version different from the one already passed, reports PTI.
Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said the bill passed in Lok Sabha was "useless" as it was not the one people asked for. "Our protest and fast is on. We will now see what will happen in Rajya Sabha," Mr Bhushan told reporters. This bill is 'very weak' as it has not given any prosecution powers to Lokpal besides keeping CBI out of the ombudsman's ambit, he said.
When asked whether Team Anna will also oppose parties other than Congress, he did not give a direct answer but said they will see the stand taken by the parties and then decide whether to oppose them in electoral campaigns. Mr Hazare had earlier announced that he will campaign against Congress-led government in the five poll-bound states.
Queried about the low turnout at Ramlila Maidan, Mr Bhushan said it was not like that way as some people have projected. "There were well over 5,000 people yesterday and around 7-8,000 in the afternoon. In Mumbai, according to me, there were 25,000. This is reasonably good. You cannot say that the support for the movement has fallen. People keep telling us that they are supporting us and are still with us," he said.
Yesterday at Ramlila Maidan, the crowd was estimated between 1-2,000 at its peak. With numbers stacked against government in Rajya Sabha for passage of Lokpal Bill, Kiran Bedi said the legislation appeared headed for a joint session of Parliament as the Upper House may pass a version different from the one passed in Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile Team Anna's protest against a "weak" Lokpal Bill remained a damp squib for the second day today as supporters refused to be drawn to Ramlila Maidan. Security personnel were more visible as barely 200 people gathered at the 30,000-capacity Maidan in the capital this morning and even prominent Team Anna members were conspicuous by their absence.
This is in sharp contrast to the 30,000 to 40,000 people who had poured in during Anna Hazare's fast at this venue in August. His two other fasts at Jantar Mantar in the past eight months had also witnessed a large turnout.