Rajat Gupta pleads not guilty, freed on $10 million bail

The 62-year-old Indian-American, who has sat on the board of some of the top US companies like Goldman Sachs and Procter and Gamble, was indicted in the massive insider trading scandal that rocked Wall Street. He entered not guilty plea at his arraignment at a US District court in New York

New York: Rajat Gupta, an iconic figure in US corporate sector who was arrested on charges of passing insider information to his friend Raj Rajaratnam, was released on Thursday on bail on a $10-million bond after he pleaded not guilty to offences that could keep him in jail for life, reports PTI.

The 62-year-old Indian-American, who has sat on the board of some of the top US companies like Goldman Sachs and Procter and Gamble, was indicted in the massive insider trading scandal that rocked Wall Street. He entered not guilty plea at his arraignment at a US District court here.

He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and five counts of securities fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and 20 years in prison on each of the securities fraud charges. If found guilty, Mr Gupta faces a cumulative jail term of 105 years.

Mr Gupta surrendered before the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Wednesday. He was accused of sharing confidential information about investments at Goldman Sachs with billionaire hedge fund manager Mr Rajaratnam, the Sri Lanka born founder of Galleon Group, who is already in jail for 11 years for insider trading scam, America’s biggest.

US prosecutor Preet Bharara said Mr Gupta broke the trust of some of US’ top public companies and “became the illegal eyes and ears in the boardroom for his friend and business associate, Raj Rajaratnam, who reaped enormous profits from Mr Gupta’s breach of duty.”

“As alleged, he broke that trust and instead became the illegal eyes and ears in the boardroom for his friend and business associate, Raj Rajaratnam, who reaped enormous profits from Mr Gupta’s breach of duty,” 43-year-old Mr Bharara, an Indian-American who became US Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 2009, said.

Mr Gupta’s lawyer Gary Naftalis said that his client was innocent.

A total of 56 people have been charged in insider trading cases since Mr Bharara, an Indian-American assumed office shortly before Mr Rajaratanam's October 2009 arrest.

FBI assistant director-in-charge Janice Fedarcyk said Mr Gupta’s arrest was the latest under an initiative launched by the FBI in 2007 against hedge fund cheats.

“The conduct alleged is not an inadvertent slip of the tongue by Mr Gupta,” she said. “His eagerness to pass along inside information to Mr Rajaratnam is nowhere more starkly evident than in the two instances where a total of 39 seconds elapsed between his learning of crucial Goldman Sachs information and lavishing it on his good friend.”

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Mukesh Ambani richest Indian with $22.6 billion net worth: Forbes

Forbes said that Mukesh’s younger brother Anil Ambani saw the biggest erosion in his wealth in absolute terms. Anil Ambani’s net worth declined by $7.4 billion to $5.9 billion and he “slipped out of the top 10 for the first time since his 2004 debut”

New Delhi: Mukesh Ambani, who heads the oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries (RIL) Group, has retained his position as the world’s richest Indian with a net worth of $22.6 billion, reports PTI quoting the Forbes India annual rich list.

Despite a fall of $4.4 billion in his net worth over the past one year, Mr Ambani managed to hold the top slot.

He is followed by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and technology czar Azim Premji, as per the list published on Thursday by the Indian edition of global business magazine Forbes.

Mr Mittal was ranked second with a net worth of $19.2 billion, while Mr Premji was at the third position with $13 billion of net worth, Forbes said.

The 100 richest persons in the country together saw their net worth falling by 20% in one year, to $241 billion, as inflation, corruption scandals and falling stock and currency prices diminished their wealth.

The list comprises of 57 billionaires, a dozen less than the last year.

Forbes said that Mukesh’s younger brother Anil Ambani saw the biggest erosion in his wealth in absolute terms, while power producer Lanco Infratech’s Madhusudan Raw was the biggest loser in percentage terms as his net worth fell by 78% during the past one year.

Anil Ambani’s net worth declined by $7.4 billion to $5.9 billion and he “slipped out of the top 10 for the first time since his 2004 debut”. He was ranked 13th in this year’s list.

In the top-five, Mukesh Ambani, Lakshmi Mittal and Azim Premji were followed by Essar group’s Shashi and Ravi Ruia ($10.2 billion at 4th position) and Savitri Jindal ($9.5 billion at 5th).

Others in the top 10 include Sunil Mittal ($8.8 billion at 6th position), Gautam Adani ($8.2 billion, 7th), Kumar Mangalam Birla ($7.7 billion, 8th), Pallonji Mistry ($7.6 billion, 9th) and Adi Godrej ($6.8 billion, 10th).

This year’s list included 14 new faces and the richest debutante was the founder and CEO of the London-listed oil and gas firm Indus Gas—Ajay Kalsi, at the 38th position with a net worth of $1.39 billion.

Father-son duo Kapil and Rahul Bhatia of travel group, InterGlobe Enterprises, made their debut at position 51, with a net worth of $1.09 billion after their budget carrier IndiGo became India’s third-largest and most profitable airline.

Also debuting on the list was V G Siddhartha, ranked 84th with a net worth of $595 million, and founder of coffee shop retail chain Cafe Coffee Day.

Naazneen Karmali, India editor of Forbes Asia, said: “This has been a turbulent year for India’s richest. Despite the economy growing at close to 8%, a spate of corruption scandals and rising inflation has taken a toll.”

Indrajit Gupta, editor of Forbes India, said: “Even though it’s been another tough year for the wealthiest Indian entrepreneurs on the 2011 India Rich List, the fact that there are as many as 14 new entrants is a clear pointer to the exciting and diverse business opportunities in this part of the world.”

The magazine said that the net worth of persons on the list are based on share prices and exchange rates as on 12th October and privately held companies were valued on the basis of their comparison with similar publicly traded firms.

The net worth figures of individuals also include family fortunes, it added.

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COMMENTS

Terrence Eames

6 years ago

What about Vinod Khosla worth $2 Billion, Keyur Patel worth $9 Billion, Ramesh Wadhwani woth $1Billion some really great guys from london worth billions as well. How come we dont see them on the list, while all of silicon valley knows of them.

HC dismisses Airtel plea against tribunal order to pay Rs25 crore

Bharti Airtel had moved the TDSAT early this month against the DoT order asking it to pay a Rs50 crore fine for issuing SIM cards in bulk to firms. However, the tribunal asked it to first pay half of the penalty for being heard. The company then approached the Delhi High Court, which too rejected its plea and asked it to pursue the case before the tribunal itself

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has dismissed Bharti Airtel’s plea against the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) that asked it to first pay half the Rs50 crore fine imposed on it by the Department of Telecom (DoT) before the hearing, reports PTI.

The DoT had imposed a Rs50 crore fine on the country’s largest telecom operator for issuing SIM cards in bulk to two firms for distribution among foreigners and non-resident Indians (NRIs), allegedly violating security conditions in the licence agreement.

As Bharti Airtel moved the TDSAT early this month against the DoT order, the tribunal asked it to first pay half of the penalty for being heard.

Bharti Airtel then approached the Delhi High Court, which too rejected its plea with the bench of justice Vipin Sanghi asking it to pursue the case before the tribunal itself.

Former solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the private operator, contended that the tribunal was not right in directing it to pay half the fine, as it had noted in the order that DoT had not given any reason for imposing the penalty.

Bharti Airtel also contended that it had only issued SIM cards/connections in bulk, and it had already terminated the rental agreements or contracts for them 19 months before the demand of penalty by DoT.

The tribunal’s interim order had come on a petition by Bharti Airtel challenging the penalty demanded by DoT.

The DoT had imposed the penalty on the telecom operator on 19th September after it found that the company had issued 1,847 bulk mobile connections to Falcon Business Resource Pvt Ltd and 741 to Galaxy Rent, violating the terms and conditions of its licence agreement.

During the proceedings, DoT had submitted before the tribunal that by issuing SIM cards to the companies, which later transferred them to NRIs and foreigners, Airtel breached the security conditions of the licences.

It further submitted that the government suffered a loss in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).

Bharti Airtel, however, opposed the DoT charge, saying that the right AGR was paid by the company to the government.

The company had further said that the two firm selling SIM cards were actually franchisees and were distributing them on behalf of Airtel.

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