Pranab hopeful of further decline in food inflation

New Delhi: The government today said it is hopeful that food inflation, which is already at single-digit level, will come down further, reports PTI.

"Decrease in food inflation is good... I hope it will come down further," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here.

Food inflation fell to a four-month low of 8.60% for the week ended 20th November, as prices of vegetables, wheat and pulses declined on increased output and arrival of kharif crop in the market.

The last time the food inflation was recorded at the single-digit level was for the week ended 24th July, when it came down to 9.53%.

Besides the four-month low, inflation has been dipping for the seven consecutive weeks now.

The fall in food inflation is in line with chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu's projection earlier this week that food prices inflation will come down to single digits, declining beyond 9% for the week ended 20th November.

The decline in food inflation has raised hopes that overall inflation may decline to around 6% by the end of the year, as predicted by the government.


Satyam case: 114 firms floated by Raju, family had accounts with HDFC

Hyderabad: An official of HDFC has told a Special Court, which is trying the accused in the multi-crore accounting fraud in Satyam Computers, that 114 companies floated by the promoters of Satyam Computer, including the company’s former chairman B Ramalinga Raju and his family members, had accounts with the bank.

In his deposition before the 21st Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court yesterday, C H Srinivas, branch manager of HDFC (Begumpet branch in Hyderabad), gave details on the banking transactions carried out by Satyam, which had five accounts with the bank, reports PTI. During his examination, Mr Srinivas said, “CBI asked for information regarding 327 companies, whether they are holding accounts in the bank. We verified the records and found 114 private limited companies of the 327 companies are having accounts in our bank. We have also given the statement of accounts of these companies.”

The banker gave details pertaining to the payment and receipts (during the period between 1999 and 2008) to the tune of several crore of rupees made to Satyam and from Satyam to various companies and individuals, besides shares and dividends. Over 184 documents are likely to be marked during the examination that continues today.

The CBI, in its chargesheet, had claimed that a total of 327 companies were incorporated from 1999 to 2008, from time to time, by Ramalinga Raju, his brother B Rama Raju along with their family members. Of these, 83 companies belonged to Ramalinga Raju, his wife B Nandini Raju and sons B Teja Raju and B Rama Raju (Junior), 78 companies to B Suryanarayana Raju, his wife B Jhansi Rani and their children B Purnima and B Satayanarayana Raju, 86 companies to B Rama Raju, his wife B Radha and their children Deepti and Rahul Raju. The remaining 80 companies belonged to other members of the family and trusted employees, the CBI said.

According to the CBI, an exclusive company, SRSR Advisory Services Private Limited, with B Suryanarayana Raju as the director, was floated for the purpose of doing the accounting and advisory services with regard to these companies.

Meanwhile, CBI sources said that so far 26 bankers have been examined by the court and six more witnesses (bank officials) are likely to be called. When the examination process of the bankers is over the Court will begin examination of Satyam employees who have been cited as CBI witnesses.


Govt submits sealed recorded tapes before SC

New Delhi: The government today placed before the Supreme Court (SC) in sealed cover recorded tapes containing the conversations between corporate lobbyist Nira Radia and others relating to the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case, reports PTI.

While placing the recorded conversations before the bench comprising justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said that it is a hard disc drive directly downloaded from the server which contains the conversations.

However, advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the non-government organisation (NGO) Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) said though Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) maintains that there were 5,800 conversations, it has prepared the transcript of only 3,000 such conversations.

The Supreme Court had yesterday directed that the original tapes containing the conversations between Ms Radia and others pertaining to the 2G spectrum allocation case be handed over to it in a sealed cover.

“We direct that the original records and tapes/CDs be submitted in a sealed cover after preparing the copies. It will be kept in the lockers of the Supreme Court registry and if required, will be considered for its use,” the court had said.

The direction from the bench had come after the government had submitted that it has no objection in handing over the complete set of tapes in the wake of apprehensions that the tapes may be destroyed.

Mr Subramanium had said that he has got instructions that there was no objection in handing over the tapes and the court can give direction for preserving them in whatever way it thinks best.

The apex court had earlier asked the government to respond to the plea for preserving the tapes containing conversation between Radia and others relating to the case.

The bench had asked the Solicitor General to take instructions from the authorities on the plea made by the NGO CPIL.

While hearing the issue earlier, the apex court had described the “pollution” as “mind-boggling”.


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