Following the Cobrapost exposé, the central bank investigation found prima facie evidence of KYC violations. It however, did not find any substantial info on money laundering and said, any conclusive inference can be drawn after investigation of the transactions by tax and enforcement agencies
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed penalties on Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank for violating guidelines related to “know your customer” (KYC) rules. The RBI has imposed a penalty of Rs5 crore on Axis Bank, Rs4.5 crore on HDFC Bank and Rs1 crore on ICICI Bank.
The RBI rap on the three private sector banks in the wake of the Cobrapost exposé affected their share prices in morning trade on Tuesday. However, the impact was not significant since the banking regulator’s investigations prima facie did not find any evidence for the more serious charge of money laundering.
“...the investigation did not reveal any prima facie evidence of money laundering. However, any conclusive inference in this regard can be drawn only by an end to end investigation of the transactions by tax and enforcement agencies,” the central bank said in a statement.
During March and April 2013, RBI said it investigated scrutiny of accounts, compliance systems, internal control and processes of these banks from the private sector at their corporate offices and braches. The investigation revealed violation of certain regulations and instructions including …
Earlier, the central bank had issued show-cause notices to ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank. In a statement, RBI said, “After considering the facts of each case and individual bank’s reply, as also, personal submissions, information submitted and documents furnished, the Reserve Bank came to the conclusion that some of the violations were substantiated and warranted imposition of monetary penalty.”
At 11.40am, ICICI Bank was trading 3% down at Rs1,085, while Axis Bank and HDFC Bank were trading 2% and 0.5% at Rs1,329 and Rs674, respectively on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex was 1.1% down at 19,228.
In an order passed by the consumer forum, New India Assurance has been directed to pay Rs48,338 with 9% interest from 11th January 2010, Rs3,000 towards mental harassment and Rs1,000 towards litigation expenses incurred
Consumer Education & Research Society (CERS), a name synonymous with several initiatives for Consumer Right’s protection, came to the rescue of complainant Kailashben Soni, who was not paid her reimbursement claim by New India Assurance. In an order passed by the consumer forum, New India Assurance has been directed to pay Rs48,338 with 9% interest from 11th January 2010, Rs3,000 towards mental harassment and Rs1,000 towards litigation expenses incurred.
As per the case details, Kailashben Soni had purchased a tailor-made group floater mediclaim policy from New India Assurance Company that was valid from 22 January 2009 to 21 January 2010. According to the policy, Kailashben could avail the benefits of cashless mediclaim at hospitals within Ahmedabad. During the policy period, Kailashben underwent a knee replacement operation at Shalby Hospitals. The expense incurred was Rs3,30,000 for the operation. However, in spite of the operation, Kailashben had to undergo physiotherapy sessions at Spineclinic as part of her continuing treatment to reduce the pain. As a result, the total medical expenditure incurred post the operation was Rs 64,450 and all these expenses were incurred within 60 days of the hospitalisation. The policy conditions clearly made the company liable to pay for all the medical expenditure claimed up to 60 days of being hospitalised. In case of Kailashben’s claim, she was entitled for 75% of the sum insured or claim amount, as per the terms and conditions for joint replacement.
On 14 May 2009, Kailashben put up her reimbursement claim to TPA. However, New India Assurance gave only partial clearance. While the company accepted and cleared the cashless claim for the expense incurred for the operation, they did not care to give a reply for the medical expense incurred after the operation. This silence was in spite of clear proof indicating that the expenses were incurred during the specified 60 days from the day of hospitalisation. When New India Assurance refused to pay heed to Kailashben’s request after repeated follow-ups, she approached CERS to intervene.
On verifying case details, CERS was quick to initiate action and filed a complaint against New India Assurance. During the arguments, it was proven that the insurance company was liable to pay 75% of the medical expense incurred within 60 days from the date of hospitalisation. After hearing arguments, from both parties, the Consumer Forum passed an order in favour of the complainant asking New India Assurance to suitably compensate Kailashben Soni.
Cairn India would do well to concentrate its expertise in what it knows best—get the gas and oil from Barmer and other potential areas, and leave the shale gas/oil issue for subsequent development
In the past, exploration in mining lease areas was restricted, but now, based on the advice of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the oil ministry has relaxed the rules to permit fresh exploration, the cost of which can be recovered ONLY when commercially viable discovery is made. Earlier, the cost of such exploration was the first charge, whether the discovery was viable or not!
So, in the case of the Barmer block in Rajasthan, drilling has been resumed by Cairn India, after lying low for four years. This is a joint venture, with Cairn holding 70% and ONGC the balance 30%.
The oil potential is estimated at 0.5 billion barrels and will enable this joint venture to achieve its target of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) when full production is reached.
Currently, the production is 170,000 to 175,000 bpd but Cairn hopes to reach at least 215,000 bpd by 2013-14, a robust jump, which help reduce the continued dependence on imports to this extent.
The oil ministry, which had delayed granting this permission to explore mining in lease areas, recently received the clearance from the law ministry. This will encourage others to work on their potential areas more seriously.
Though the lease for the Barmer oil block expires in 2020, in order to lay down its far-reaching production plans and the related investments to the tune of some $3 billion, Cairn India has sought government assurance that the mining lease will be extended by at least 10 years to 2030. While views may differ on this issue, considering the exploration work, tests and trials are time consuming and expensive, the government needs to take a realistic and practical view, and consider such proposals favourably.
Cairn has also wants government assurance that it will be given the first right for refusal when it comes to exploration of shale gas/oil in the Barmer oil fields where it is already fully entrenched and operative successfully.
The company has rightfully claimed that under the NELP (the New Exploration Licensing Policy), the block should be offered to it as it is carrying on the work there (in Barmer), instead of giving the opportunity to others, which may be hindrance in its work.
In fact, once the government takes a realistic view on this, Cairn may as well consider offering its expertise to Oil India on a partnership basis, to tap heavy oil find, which has been discovered by OIL, only 400 km from Barmer. Logistics and knowledge of the area, apart from expertise in the industry, are in Cairn's favour.
In so far as shale oil and gas are concerned, should Cairn India really get into this new area, which is in its infancy in the United States itself? Besides, a basic study on this subject indicates that if and when viable discoveries are made, the explorer needs substantial quantity of water to successfully tap this shale oil or gas!
Where would anyone go to acquire this water wealth, in abundance, in Rajasthan? Cairn India would do well to concentrate its expertise in what it knows best—get the gas and oil from Barmer and other potential areas, and leave the shale gas/oil issue for subsequent development, by which time technology may improve to reduce the dependence on water!
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)