Probe money-laundering charges against Amar Singh, Allahabad HC tells ED

The Court gave the direction while dismissing a petition filed by Amar Singh, former Samajwadi Party general secretary, who had challenged an FIR  lodged in Kanpur nearly two years ago, accusing him of various financial irregularities

Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court today directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate charges of money laundering against Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, saying that the probe should commence within two weeks.

The Court gave the direction while dismissing a petition filed by the former Samajwadi Party general secretary who had challenged an FIR (First Information Report) lodged in Kanpur nearly two years ago accusing him of various financial irregularities when the party was in power in Uttar Pradesh, reports PTI.

A division bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and SS Tiwari asked the ED to commence the investigation “within two weeks” and submit a status report before the court within a month of the commencement of the probe.

Mr Singh had moved the court challenging an FIR lodged at Babupurwa Police Station in Kanpur on 15 October 2009 by a local resident Shiv Kant Tripathi under various sections of the IPC, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Mr Tripathi had also moved the Court with the prayer that the issue be probed by the ED.

The petitions by Mr Singh and Mr Tripathi were clubbed together and heard by the bench which had reserved its judgement on 28th March.

Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who had argued on behalf of Mr Singh, had described the FIR lodged against his client as “clearly an act of malice and fraud” aimed at “settling political scores” and, hence, was “liable to be quashed.”

However, the Court said it found “no substance in the submissions that the proceeding is liable to be quashed on grounds of mala fide and political rivalries.”

The Court took a serious note of the allegation made by the petitioner that Mr Singh, when the Samajwadi Party was in power in UP and he was the Chairman of the UP Development Council—a post equivalent to that of a Cabinet minister —“had indulged in money-laundering business by creating a web of shell companies.”

“Money laundering poses a serious threat to financial system integrity. It may emerge as a parallel economic system within a country controlled by a few. This may destabilise and perish a sound economy,” it said.

“We are of the firm view that it is a pre-eminently fit case for exercise of extra-ordinary power and the matter needs thorough probe by Special Cell as the matter has national ramifications,” the Court said.

Taking note of the fact that “the companies which are alleged to be shell companies are registered in various states,” the court held “the ED being a Central agency shall be the appropriate cell capable of carrying out a thorough probe.”

It is, therefore, directed that the entire papers relating to this matter shall be entrusted to the ED within two weeks and immediately after receipt of the papers the ED shall commence investigation. The first status report shall be submitted by the ED within one month after receipt of papers,” the Court said.

“List this matter in the first week of July on which date the authorities-that-be shall appear in person and shall submit the first status report,” the order said.

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Posco land-acquisition process disrupted in Orissa

Activists of the United Action Committee, who earlier backed the mega steel project, opposed the land acquisition drive, a day after 30 of their members were arrested for trying to disrupt the acquisition process yesterday

Paradip: Land acquisition for Posco’s mega steel plant in Orissa was disrupted today when a group of villagers, who had earlier backed the Rs 52,000-crore project, staged a sit-in at the proposed site.

With villagers showing reluctance to come forward to hand over land, teams engaged by the administration of Jagatsinghpur district for land acquisition conducted measurement of betel vines, fish ponds and plantations, reports PTI.

“We want people to hand over land voluntarily. No force will be used in acquiring land for the Posco project, which was resumed on 18th May after a gap of nine months,” said Additional District Magistrate (Paradip) Saroj Choudhury.

The land acquisition teams visited Polanga and Bayanala in the Gada Kujanga panchayat area and carried out measurement of different sites including betel vines, he said, adding if “anybody volunteers to part with his land, compensation would be paid.”

Activists of the United Action Committee (UAC), who earlier backed the mega project, staged a dharna at Gada Kujanga to oppose the land-acquisition drive, a day after 30 of their members were arrested for trying to disrupt the acquisition process yesterday and later released.

UAC president Anadi Rout said that though their outfit “supported the project”, it would “oppose the land acquisition work” till their demands are fulfilled.

He said the dharna by UAC activists would continue till 30th May when the revenue divisional commissioner has convened a meeting to discuss the demands.

“We have been successful in acquiring 16 betel vines till yesterday. The work will continue,” a senior revenue official said.

There has been no untoward incident in any part of the proposed Posco project site during land-acquisition work, according to Jagatsinghpur District Superintendent of Police
S Devadutta Singh.

Over 700 police personnel have been deployed in Balitutha, Gobindpur, Gada Kujanga, Nuagaon and other areas in order to ensure smooth land-acquisition work and prevent any untoward incident in view of the threat by anti-Posco activists and outfits to oppose the process, police said.

Though activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti blocked the road to Dhinkia and Gobindpur and supporters of Bhitamati Suraksha Manch (BMSM) staged a blockade near Nuagaon, the situation was peaceful, according to the police.Paradip: Land acquisition for Posco’s mega steel plant in Orissa was disrupted today when a group of villagers, who had earlier backed the Rs 52,000-crore project, staged a sit-in at the proposed site.

With villagers showing reluctance to come forward to hand over land, teams engaged by the administration of Jagatsinghpur district for land acquisition conducted measurement of betel vines, fish ponds and plantations, reports PTI.

“We want people to hand over land voluntarily. No force will be used in acquiring land for the Posco project, which was resumed on 18th May after a gap of nine months,” said Additional District Magistrate (Paradip) Saroj Choudhury.

The land acquisition teams visited Polanga and Bayanala in the Gada Kujanga panchayat area and carried out measurement of different sites including betel vines, he said, adding if “anybody volunteers to part with his land, compensation would be paid.”

Activists of the United Action Committee (UAC), who earlier backed the mega project, staged a dharna at Gada Kujanga to oppose the land-acquisition drive, a day after 30 of their members were arrested for trying to disrupt the acquisition process yesterday and later released.

UAC president Anadi Rout said that though their outfit “supported the project”, it would “oppose the land acquisition work” till their demands are fulfilled.

He said the dharna by UAC activists would continue till 30th May when the revenue divisional commissioner has convened a meeting to discuss the demands.

“We have been successful in acquiring 16 betel vines till yesterday. The work will continue,” a senior revenue official said.

There has been no untoward incident in any part of the proposed Posco project site during land-acquisition work, according to Jagatsinghpur District Superintendent of Police S Devadutta Singh.

Over 700 police personnel have been deployed in Balitutha, Gobindpur, Gada Kujanga, Nuagaon and other areas in order to ensure smooth land-acquisition work and prevent any untoward incident in view of the threat by anti-Posco activists and outfits to oppose the process, police said.

Though activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti blocked the road to Dhinkia and Gobindpur and supporters of Bhitamati Suraksha Manch (BMSM) staged a blockade near Nuagaon, the situation was peaceful, according to the police.

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Contrary to perception, mutual fund investing through SIPs is not that high

Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) are a hot sales product, according to common wisdom. However, new folios created through non-SIP products have often been more than those from SIP products 

Systematic investment plans (SIPs) in mutual funds is the great new hope for the fund industry. According to anecdotal reports, SIPs are simply flying. However, a report released by Computer Age Management Services (CAMS), a mutual fund registrar, SIP folios edged ahead of non-SIP folios only for a few months between August 2009-when entry load was banned-and July 2010. Apparently, the increase in SIPs is encouraging for the fund industry as an SIP investment lengthens the period an investor stays invested.



This reduces redemptions from funds when markets are doing badly, as SIP investments would continue for that period.
But over the past three years, the growth in SIP has been very uneven. With the Sensex bouncing back and New Fund Offers (NFOs) on the decline, SIP growth should have increased. This has not happened. All that has happened is that non-SIP folios which were increasing dramatically before the market crashed in 2008, came down sharply. Even then, for a number of months, new non-SIP folios have been well ahead of SIP folios.

If we analyse the chart (above) and focus only on SIP, there has been a slow and uneven growth in SIPs. Normal folio contribution was exceptional from August 2007 to July 2008, hitting highs of around 14 lakh new folios per month. But this changed drastically, after the crash and was just about 3.5 lakh in March 2010. Even then, in all these periods, they were more than SIPs. In late mid-2008 to mid-2009, markets were at a low-hence the decline in new folio creation was expected.

The period of January, February and March normally sees a jump in new folios, which is mainly due to investments made to save tax. In the past year, apart from these three months, the contribution to new folios by SIPs and non-SIPs has almost been at par till July 2010, for which the data is available. Maybe the data of subsequent months will throw more light on whether SIPs have become more popular... or not.

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