PAC quizzes Ratan Tata, Niira Radia in 2G allocation scam

Ms Radia is believed to have told the committee that some of the tapes of her purported talks were doctored. Mr Tata He is understood to have been asked the reasons for Tata Teleservices' interest in launching GSM services when it was already a key player in the CDMA segment for such services

New Delhi: Top Indian industrialist Ratan Tata and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia were Monday quizzed by the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in connection with alleged irregularities in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam, reports PTI.

Ms Radia, whose tapped phone conversations with politicians, corporates, bureaucrats, and journalists form a key part of the investigations into the 2G spectrum scam, is believed to have told the committee that some of the tapes of her purported talks were doctored.

"She told us that some tapes are genuine while some are doctored," a member of the PAC said.

He said she was also asked about the letter Mr Tata had reportedly written to chief minister of south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, M Karunanidhi, praising the then telecom minister A Raja.

Ms Radia, chairperson of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, appeared before the PAC along with two senior colleagues Manoj Warrier and Yateesh Wahaal.

Another PAC member said that Ms Radia was evasive while answering to several questions. "I don't know. I cannot remember was her refrain to many questions," said the member.

The PAC quizzed Ms Radia for nearly two hours. She had reached Parliament just before 11am, the time allotted for recording of evidence. However, the members had a long discussion among themselves for over an hour and she was finally called in just past noon.

Mr Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, appeared before the committee after 3pm. He is understood to have been asked the reasons for Tata Teleservices' interest in launching Global System for Mobile services when it was already a key player in the Code Division Multiple Access technology for such services.

One of the questions put to him was regarding the group's dealing with journalists and whether it was a practice to make payments to them for publishing favourable news reports.

The panel, headed by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, is understood to have sought clarifications from Ms Radia on the tapped conversations which include allegations of trying to influence portfolio allocation to ministers in the United Progressive Alliance-II government.

In the calls, Ms Radia is allegedly heard making efforts to ensure that Mr Raja gets the telecom portfolio. Mr Raja is now in jail in connection with the 2G scam.

The PAC has asked Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani, Etisalat DB Telecom CEO Atul Jhamb, S-Tel CEO Shamik Das and Unitech Wireless managing director Sigve Brekke to appear before it Tuesday.

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Raise FDI limit to 49% in insurance sector: SMC Global

"With 26% foreign equity element of FDI in insurance business, not many foreign players are keen to make a foray in it ever since this industry was opened up for a limited competition way back in 1999," SMC Global Securities CMD Subhash Chand Aggarwal said

New Delhi: Pitching for raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in insurance segment to 49%, financial solution provider firm SMC Global Securities today said the move would help the sector become a $65 billion industry by 2014, reports PTI.

SMC Global Securities said the current size of the domestic insurance industry is estimated at $45 billion.

The firm has urged the UPA government to "initiate serious deliberations" with all it's constituents to increase FDI limit in the insurance sector to 49% from the current level of 26%.

Raising the limit would help the insurance industry grow at a much faster pace as also facilitate larger FDI, the company's chairman and managing director Subhash Chand Aggarwal said.

"With 26% foreign equity element of FDI in insurance business, not many foreign players are keen to make a foray in it ever since this industry was opened up for a limited competition way back in 1999," he said.

He said negligible growth was witnessed in the last decade in the insurance sector as far as foreign participation is concerned.

"If the UPA government is able to garner support from its constituents to hike FDI limit in the insurance sector (at the earliest)... the size of insurance industry would jump up to over $65 billion by 2014," Mr Aggarwal said.

A bill to raise the FDI limit in insurance sector from 26% to 49% is awaiting Parliament approval.

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ULIPs : Highest NAV ULIPs

Finally, IRDA wants greater disclosure on these products

IRDA (the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) is seeking greater disclosure for highest NAV (net asset value) products from insurers.  
The specific data the regulator has asked for includes the name of the products, fund size, premium and the number of polices for all guaranteed linked and non-linked products, among others. The regulator might come up with additional disclosure norms to check mis-selling of products by agents. IRDA is also looking at how these funds are being sold. Unlike other insurance products, where approval is required from the actuarial and life departments, guaranteed products have to get additional approval from the finance department of IRDA.

Moneylife has all along maintained that ‘highest’ NAV unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs) give suboptimal results and cause confusion for customers. The most important point to understand is that insurance companies are guaranteeing NAVs and not returns!

Are these two different? Yes. The NAV is a number at a point in time, whereas returns happen over a period of time. For instance, your 10-year plan may have hit an NAV of Rs14 after five years. At that point, it is the highest NAV. This Rs14 is guaranteed for the next five years. What if the NAV remains at Rs14 for the next four years, or goes down to Rs13? You would still get this NAV of Rs14. But Rs14 happens to be just a 4% return over 10 years!

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COMMENTS

unnikrishnan

6 years ago

Highest nav guarnateed product it self is ment for mis selling. It is being sold as a equity fund with quanratee. Or high growth is guaranteed. What proportion they keep in equity and debt instruments is not disclosed. This is hide and seek. Lic is campaigning on this high nav guarantee agressively. people trust Lice more thinking it is government. People will get cheated not only by some private insurares. also from Lic. keeping controll on charges and mis selling is a late but good initiative by IRDA. But restricting the sales promotion expenses will destroy insurance business.

Rajeshwar Reddy

6 years ago

Highest NAV products are meant for some specific purpose.But the agents are misselling it.It is a nice gesture from IRDA asking for a greater disclosure for these products.

suresh

6 years ago

actually the basic concept of insurance is financial Security, ( when breakdowns happen accidentally) not a profit generating investment. For this, one Term policy which will give security would do and most of the population is capable of paying the premium. and similarly one health policy atleast 5 Lakh SA which would give a person security. Rest of his money one can play in mutual funds or shares or any other investments. These ULIPs we have seen earlier the results. Most of the investers have lost their interest. It is better that IRDA recommend only Term policies( for life insurance co.s) and health insurance policies to the geneal insurers apart from other policies they cover.

dillip swain

6 years ago

life insurance industry future is not good. u can make fool some people for some days, not all people for all days.

citizenindia

6 years ago

finally, after allowing their dear insurance mates to mislead indian public with fancy adds and promises , irda trying to show it exists! fact is the product has largly done what it intended to do. now that the reality of guarenteed NAVs is quite well documented, time for irda to project itself has doing something. in the mean time ins cos can lay their next trap.

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