Rs700 crore fine imposed on telecom cos for violation of laws: Govt

The penalty was imposed by Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells till January 2011 on various telecom service providers operating in different licence service areas for non-compliance of subscriber verification guidelines

New Delhi: Acting tough, the government has imposed fines of Rs700 crore on various telecom operators for carrying out illegal and clandestine activities in their services, particularly for non-compliance of the subscriber verification process, reports PTI.

The penalty was imposed by Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells till January 2011 on various telecom service providers operating in different licence service areas for non-compliance of subscriber verification guidelines, a home ministry report said.

The fine was imposed on defaulting entities which did not comply with government orders despite repeated warnings that 100% verification of each and every subscriber was absolutely necessary for interests of the country's security.

There have been several instances in the past where terrorists used mobile phone connections, which were issued without verification, to carry out terror acts in India.

"Consultations are regularly held with the service providers to streamline the guidelines. Apart from the fine, wherever the shortcoming is serious in nature and whenever necessary, local police even register cases against the defaulter," a home ministry official said.

Because of non-compliance of the government rules, the Centre had in the past suspended operations of pre-paid mobile connections in Jammu & Kashmir.

Cellular services to nearly 38 million pre-paid cell phone subscribers in Jammu & Kashmir, who comprise 60% of total clientele in the state, was restored only after seven telecom operators-Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications and state-run BSNL promised full compliance with the verification process.

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BC India, Lathe to pick up 29% stake in HIPL for Rs3,650 crore

The Hero Group had earlier this month signed definitive agreements with the PE firms-BC India Private Investors II, an affiliate of Bain Capital LLC, and Lathe Investment Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of state-run Singapore Investment Corporation (Ventures) Pvt Ltd-for the stake sale in HIPL

New Delhi: Two private equity firms, BC India Investors II and Lathe Investment Pvt Ltd, will together pick up a 29% stake in Hero Investments Pvt Ltd (HIPL)-a promoter firm of the country's largest two-wheeler maker, Hero Honda-for Rs3,650 crore, reports PTI.

The Hero Group had earlier this month signed definitive agreements with the PE firms-BC India Private Investors II, an affiliate of Bain Capital LLC, and Lathe Investment Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of state-run Singapore Investment Corporation (Ventures) Pvt Ltd-for the stake sale in HIPL.

"Subject to all necessary clearances, these two investors shall collectively invest around Rs3,650 crore for approximately a 29% stake in HIPL, which will own 43.33% of Hero Honda Motors post-acquisition of Honda's stake," a senior Hero Group official told PTI.

HIPL is one of the main shareholders in the country's largest two-wheeler maker, Hero Honda. It held a 17.33% stake in the company as of 31 December 2010.

Last month, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) had referred a proposal by the Hero Group to bring in Rs4,500 crore foreign equity in HIPL to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for approval, as it involves an investment exceeding Rs1,200 crore.

The BM Munjal-led Hero Group is to pay Rs3,841.83 crore to buy out Honda's 26% stake in their joint venture, Hero Honda.

The group said the funds raised from the PE firms will be used to retire a significant portion of the debt that has been raised by HIPL recently for financing the acquisition of Honda Motor Company's stake in Hero Honda.

In December, the two companies mutually agreed to part ways in the 27 year-old joint venture, where the Indian partner also holds a 26% stake.

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Share prices will continue to remain weak: Monday Closing Report

A couple of days of strength may be misleading

The domestic market opened in positive territory on support from its Asian peers, which were in the green in morning trade. The Sensex opened 106 points higher at 17,985 and the Nifty was up 35 points at 5,409, this morning. The indices were pushed into the red as investors resorted to profit booking early in the day. However, the damage was limited and the market turned positive in late morning trade on support from healthcare, auto and fast moving consumer goods stocks.

The indices touched the day's high in noon trade with the Sensex breaching the 18,000 levels and the Nifty touching 5,409. But the market could not sustain those levels and pared some gains. Continuing to trade sideways, the market dipped into the red again in the last half hour and closed lower for the third day in a row. The Sensex settled 40 points lower at 17,839 and the Nifty closed at 5,365, down nine points. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 618:1051. The market may end directionless in the absence of domestic triggers.

In line with the key benchmarks, the broader indices also ended almost flat. The BSE Mid-cap index fell 0.27% and the BSE Small-cap index declined 0.29%.

In the sectoral space, BSE Healthcare (up 0.15%), BSE Bankex (up 0.04%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.01%) were the gainers, whereas BSE Realty (down 0.92%), BSE IT (down 0.73%) and BSE TECk (down 0.63%) were the top gainers.

Jindal Steel (up 1.95%), Mahindra & Mahindra (up 1.39%), Sterlite Industries (up 1.07%), HDFC (up 0.92%) and Tata Steel (up 0.87%) were the top performers on the Sensex, whereas Hindalco Industries (down 3.12%), Hero Honda (down 2.74%), Maruti Suzuki (down 2.33%), Cipla (down 2.11%) and Wipro (down 1.90%) ended at the bottom of the index.

In order to boost manufacturing of indigenous equipment, the Centre may extend preferential status to 'Made in India' products in the New Telecom Policy 2011 (NTP'11). Department of Telecom (DoT) secretary R Chandrashekhar said the DoT is waiting for recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on manufacturing and expects to receive them by end of March.

The decision to encourage telecom manufacturing is in line with the recommendations made in the IT Task Force report, which is being processed by the Department of Information Technology.

Markets in Asia closed with smart gains on Monday, on positive news emanating from quake-hit Japan. Reports indicated that workers are close to restoring power supply to the damaged nuclear plants. Chinese investors also chose to ignore the rate hike initiated by the country's central bank after the markets closed on Friday. Higher oil prices, on the back of the continuing turmoil in West Asia, boosted crude refining companies.

The Shanghai Composite added 0.10%, the Hang Seng jumped 1.73%, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.71%, the KLSE Composite rose 0.33%, the Straits Times surged 1.63%, the Seoul Composite advanced 1.13% and the Taiwan Weighted was 0.87% higher today. The Japanese market was closed for a local holiday.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs523.51 crore on Friday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors pumped in funds worth Rs296.30 crore in the equities segment on the same day.

Monnet Global (MGL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Monnet Ispat and Energy (down 0.88%), has acquired a 100 million tonne Indonesian coal company, PT Sarwa Sembada Karya Bumi, for $24 million.

"The acquisition gives MGL access to one of the largest thermal coal mines spread over an area of 25,000 hectares. Presently, only 1,500 hectares of the area has been explored and the company has been able to establish 65 million tonne of coal reserves in the mines. It expects these reserves to go up substantially after completing exploration of the whole area," the company said.

Voltas (down 1.78%) has decided to form a joint venture (JV) with German-based Linde Material Handling GmbH (LMH), a part of KION Group, for materials handling business. On completion of the deal, Linde's material handling operations would be transferred to a JV company, where LMH would hold a majority shareholding.

Voltas would also enter into a supply agreement with the JVC for forklifts to be manufactured at its Thane plant (in Maharashtra) and grant license for use of 'Voltas' brand for forklifts for a period of five years, on certain conditions.

Madhucon Projects (up 3.67%) has received a letter of award from National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for four-laning of the Ranchi-Rargaon-Jamshedpur section of NH-33 in the state of Jharkhand under NHDP Phase-III for design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) on a semi-annual annuity of Rs133.20 crore. The concession period is 15 years, including the construction period of 912 days.

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