Citizens' Issues
Prima facie nexus in Aircel-Maxis deal involving Maran: SC

The apex court which perused two reports filed in a sealed cover by the CBI, has said that the allegations levelled and investigations prima facie indicates a nexus between former minister Dayanidhi Maran and a Malaysian businessman

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegations in Aircel-Maxis deal involving former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and a Malaysian business tycoon "prima facie indicates a nexus", reports PTI.


A bench of justices GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan, which perused two reports filed in a sealed cover by the CBI, said, "The allegations levelled and investigations prima facie indicates a nexus."


The CBI told the court that it has completed the domestic investigations into the deal but the overseas probe was being delayed due to the influence of the company's owner in Malaysia who is "powerful politically".


"We have completed the domestic probe and have to complete the investigation about the deal in Malaysia and Mauritius. Letters Rogatory have been sent to those countries.


"The gentleman in Malaysia who is involved in it is economically powerful and he is also powerful politically," the agency's counsel KK Venugopal submitted without taking any names.


The submission was made by Venugopal, who was reading the relevant portions of CBI's fresh progress report on its investigation into the 2G spectrum scam.


Maran has been accused of "forcing" Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell the stake in Aircel to a Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006 owned by Kuala Lumpur-based business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan.


The agency submitted that overseas probe was important to track the money trail as the funds for the deal had come through Mauritius.


"We have to go into the source of fund. Information is that the money came through Mauritius," the CBI counsel said adding that "we want to show the link on the source of money to show the quid-pro-quo involved in the deal."


When the bench wanted to know "why there was a delay in probe in Malaysia and Mauritius," the CBI said those countries are repeatedly seeking clarification on one or the other issues.


The bench also said if there was any effort by powerful or influential or CBI was working under any influence then "this must be stopped".


ED probing investment by Wal-Mart in Indian companies

According to a petition filed in the High Court, US retail giant Wal-Mart invested Rs455.80 crore in multi-brand retail in India by masquerading it as for 'Services Sector' before the policy for FDI in retail came into force

Chennai: The Union government has told the Madras High Court that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was investigating the alleged investment of American retail giant Wal-Mart in Indian companies, in violation of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), reports PTI.


Petitioner T Vellayan, President of Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders Association, had earlier sought a direction to authorities to examine, investigate or consider investment by a subsidiary of multi-brand retail company Wal-Mart in two Indian firms in March-April 2010.


When the matter came up, Additional Solicitor General Wilson submitted that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already referred the matter to the ED to conduct an investigation and the agency is now seized of the matter and as such the prayer had become infructuous.


Defence counsel B Kumar stated that it was only a routine procedure and no inquiry was ordered by the government.


He said it was only because of filing of the petition, the RBI initiated action and in case the plea is closed, the authorities would close the matter.


Counsel for the private companies contended that the petitioner had no locus standi in the issue.


A Division Bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and KK Sasidharan said the RBI's letter dated 2nd November, clearly indicated that the RBI had taken cognisance of the petition and another one filed against the FDI policy.


It said the Additional Solicitor General had submitted that the ED was seriously looking into the matter and conducting detailed investigation.


The bench said it was only directing the ASG to take instructions from the ED with regard to action taken pursuant to the letter sent by the RBI and the stage of investigation.


The matter was posted for 31st January next.


The PIL submitted the Union government had allowed FDI in multi-brand retail on 14th September before which it had been prohibited under FEMA, 1999, and Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a person resident outside India) Regulations 2000.


It said in March and April this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, USA through its subsidiary, in collusion with two Indian firms, illegally invested Rs455.80 crore in multi-brand retail in India by masquerading it as for 'Services Sector.'


Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines' Q2 loss widens to Rs754 crore

Kingfisher's revenues in September quarter tumbled to Rs200 crore from Rs1,553 crore in the same period last year due to disruption in operations and eventual suspension of its licence by aviation regulator DGCA

Mumbai: Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines on Thursday reported a net loss of Rs754 crore for the July-September quarter, a sharp increase from Rs469 crore in the year-ago period, reports PTI.


The Vijay Mallya-owned carrier said it is working on a plan to resume its services.


Kingfisher's total revenue plunged to Rs200 crore during its second quarter from Rs1,553 crore in the same period last year due to disruption in operations and eventual suspension of its licence by aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).


Even as the company's expenses declined across various heads, the firm suffered huge restructuring cost. Its tax expenses also rose sharply.


Announcing the result, the carrier said it is in discussions with various stakeholders to ensure that there are no future disruptions and expects to resume operations in the near future.


"Kingfisher Airlines is preparing a comprehensive plan for re-start of operations which will be shared with the DGCA and bankers," the carrier said in a BSE filing.


The carrier is already saddled with accumulated loss of Rs8,000 crore besides a debt burden of over Rs7,524 crore, a large part of which has not been serviced.


The DGCA had recently suspended the flying licence of Kingfisher following the airline's failure to come up with a viable plan of financial and operational revival.


It faces the risk of losing its licence if a revival plan is not submitted by next month, while bankers are working on plans to handle large scale defaults by the airline.


At 12.16pm, Kingfisher shares were trading at Rs12.81, down 0.16% on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex was also marginally down at 18,813.


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