Reliance Infratel erected a mobile tower with power genset on the rooftop of a building in Delhi. There was no record of any permission, except a deposit of Rs1 lakh given to MCD. This is the 117th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the additional commissioner for engineering at Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide information related with erection of mobile tower on rooftop of a building to the applicant and the Commission on steps taken before 10 June 2009.
While giving this judgement on 19 September 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner, said, “...it is possible that the cell tower has never been given any permission, and no stability certificate may have been given. It appears that the MCD officials would be colluding and illegal cell tower being in existence.”
New Delhi resident BB Khurana, on 6 October 2008, sought information regarding installation of mobile phone tower on rooftop along with generator set by Reliance Infratel from the Public Information Officer (PIO) and superintending engineer, MCD. Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act and the reply provided by the PIO...
1. Please give the copies of all affidavits, correspondence etc with Reliance Infocomm from the day one of request to final orders from your office.
PIO's reply: As per the records available with Building Department, West Zone. The file for permission to install telecom tower on the terrace of property noFD-38, Tagore Garden was submitted to this office on dated 5 January 2004 vide diary no3947 and amount of Rs1 lakh was deposited vide G-8 No440014 dated 16 January 2004. Best efforts have been made to trace the file but the same could not be traced.
2. Please give copy of permission along with diary number and dispatch no. of your office, since you were the Sanctioning Authority.
PIO's reply: As above
3. Since you had followed the norms issued vide the circular no. TP/G/5462/03 dated 20/11/03. Please give your observations on point 7 of the said circular for FD-38 Tagore Garden, New Delhi-110027.
PIO's reply: As above
4. You are further requested to give all the copies of circulars for installation to Cellular Mobile Phone before date or after date of installation of Reliance Tower of FD-38 Tagore Garden, New Delhi 110027.
PIO's reply: Photocopies had already been supplied.
Khurana, the applicant, not satisfied with the reply provided by the PIO, filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “the concerned file related to case is not available, documents giving sanction to be obtained from the party concerned which has installed the telecom tower. The executive engineer (B)/WZ is directed that all copies of correspondence with Reliance Infratel, which has since installed a cellular mobile tower, be obtained and copy of the same be provided to the appellant by 29 December 2008.”
Still not satisfied with the order from the FAA, the applicant approached the Commission with his second appeal.
During the hearing before Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, the PIO stated that the file relating to the installation of cell tower antenna on the roof terrace of SF of the property no.FD-38, Tagore Garden, New Delhi was not available. There was no permission on record but there was only record of Rs1 lakh deposited to the public authority on 16 January 2004.
“Based on these facts,” Mr Gandhi noted, “it is possible that the cell tower has never been given any permission, and no stability certificate may have been given. It appears that the MCD officials would be colluding and illegal cell tower being in existence.”
The PIO also showed a letter addressed to the manager of Reliance Infratel stating that the tower is in existence without any approval from MCD. This letter was dated 19 May 2009 and has stated that if approval is not shown to the MCD within seven days, action would be initiated (against the company).
The PIO further stated that this letter has been given but no action has been taken or initiated so far.
Mr Gandhi said, “This appears to be a grave matter with an impact on the safety of citizens and it is a very sorry state of affair that MCD is unwilling to do anything.”
While allowing the appeal, the CIC then directed Naresh Kumar, additional commissioner for engineering at MCD, to provide information to Khurana and the Commission on the steps taken in this matter before 10 June 2009.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000834/3554
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000834
Appellant : BB Khurana
Respondent : VR Bansal
The Suptdg. Engineer-I & PIO
Municipal Corporation of Delhi
Office of the Suptdg. Engineer-I (WZ),
Vishal Enclave, Rajouri Garden,
Weak domestic fundamentals such as record current account deficit and high inflation concerns too put pressure on the rupee, dealers said
The Indian rupee on Thursday plunged by a whopping 130 paisa to hit lifetime low of 59.93 against the US dollar in the early trade on the Interbank Foreign Exchange on strong demand for the American currency from banks and importers. The rupee hit an all-time low of 59.97 per dollar in the spot market while it struck 60.17 in the futures segment.
Besides, the dollar's strength against major currencies overseas on comments by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank may scale back its monetary stimulus programme later this year weighed on the domestic unit, dealers said.
However, according to Credit Suisse, the statement from Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), and chairman Bernanke's press conference were more hawkish than expected. "The FOMC seems simultaneously anxious to start slowing the pace of its asset purchases and reluctant to tighten policy too early or too quickly. Market participants seem much more attuned to the new news of 'tapered purchases' than the old news of a large Fed balance sheet," it said in a note.
Raghuram Rajan, chief economic advisor to the finance ministry, tried to calm the markets while admitting that the government had limited resources and the reasons for the fall in domestic currency were more global than local.
Speaking with reporters, he said, "We have a range of instruments. We can call on them as and when needed. We will not flag them. The ministry of finance, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) are watching developments closely and would take action appropriate. We should not let ourselves to be led by the market into directions we do not want to go".
The domestic currency had earlier hits its all-time intra-day low of Rs58.98 on 11th June. The rupee had gained 7 paisa to close at Rs58.70 against the dollar in the previous session on the back of recovery in stocks and fresh dollar selling by exporters.
Kuntal Sur, director, KPMG in India, said, "The rupee has been under pressure since last month and has lost around 10% during this period on the back of heavy foreign currency outflows as foreign investors withdrew heavily from debt market and also from equity market. The ballooning current account deficit (CAD) and cloudy outlook of reforms have added to the local currency's woes. Outlook of the currency is expected to remain weak till the structural measures are taken to improve CAD and improvements of sentiments foreign investors".
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of Planning Commission, however expressed surprise over market reaction to the Fed's statement. He said, "Currencies in all emerging nations are being impacted. For Indian rupee, the CAD is also responsible for large depreciation and it is up to RBI to decide on intervening in the currency market."
According to dealers, weak domestic fundamentals such as record current account deficit and high inflation concerns too put pressure on the rupee.
In a report, Mecklai Financial said, "60.00 should be a psychological level for the rupee wherein RBI may step in and ensure that it does not depreciate to a large extent from hereon. The rupee has been on a depreciation mode ever since it hit an high of 53.67 in this year."
Meanwhile, as an aftereffect, the BSE benchmark Sensex also closed below the 19,000 level, plunging 526 points, or 2.7%, to 18,719.3.
Moneylife Foundation has been receiving complaints from its members that they are not receiving their fixed deposit maturity amounts from two Yash Birla Group companies namely Zenith Birla (India) and Birla Power Solutions. Is there financial trouble brewing in the group?
The economic slowdown and its impact on corporate performance is now beginning to hurt investors who have trusted their money to unsecured fixed deposits of a clutch of companies. Investors are writing to us to complain that they are not getting back their maturity proceeds from two Yash Birla Group companies, Zenith Birla (India) and Birla Power Solutions.
The Yash Birla Group of companies has been struggling, if the share price is anything to go by. As you will see from the table below, none of the Yash Birla Group companies are quoting at double digits. Out of the eight companies, all but one gave negative returns since 1 March 2013. Is there trouble for the group that the shareholders do not know about?
The table below shows the stock price performance of all the Yash Birla Group companies:
Recently, the Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals called off its joint venture with the Yash Birla Group, citing delays in obtaining approvals. Interestingly, fixed deposits-related issues plagued Zenith Birla (India) and Birla Power Solutions. The latter had problems paying its tax dues as well.
According to the annual report, Birla Power Solutions not only did not issue fixed deposit receipts but the auditors also discovered there was a shortfall in liquid assets too. More pertinently, the auditors also discovered tax arrears with respect to dividend distribution tax and sales tax. However, the company admitted that the financial crunch made it more difficult to bridge the shortfall and pay taxes. It said, “The company could not pay the dividend distribution tax of Rs261.54 lakh and the arrears of sales tax due of Rs23.64 lakh due to severe financial crunch. The company will pay these dues as soon as the financial position improves.” Similarly, it could not bridge shortfall of Rs9.31 lakh due to poor economy.
The auditor stated in the company’s 2012 annual report: “We have to state that the company has invested Rs283.55 lakh out of the amount of Rs292.86 lakh, in liquid assets. Further there has been delay of some days in obtaining the said assets. There has also been a small delay in issue in Fixed Deposit Receipts to the extent of Rs105.98 lakh during January and February 2012 consequent to the change in the registrar of the company.”
Birla Power Solutions has fixed deposits to the tune of Rs57.92 crore as of 31 March 2012. The company too claims that there are no unpaid deposits. Another company, Birla Cotsyn, has Rs5.61 crore of fixed deposits with no unclaimed fixed deposits.
Similarly, Zenith Birla (India) too had troubles with issuing fixed deposit receipts. Last year’s annual report of Zenith Birla (India) reveals something that has relevance to fixed deposit holders of the company. Apparently, the company had failed to issue fixed deposit receipts to the extent of Rs78.16 lakh, as discovered by auditors, last year in January and February. The auditors stated: “In respect of compliance by the company with the provisions of Sections 58A and 58AA or any other relevant provisions of the Act and the Companies (Acceptance of Deposits) Rules, 1975, with regard to the deposits accepted from the public, we have to state that there has been a small delay in issue of Fixed Deposit Receipts to the extent of Rs78.16 lakh during January and February 2012 consequent to the change in the registrar of the company.”
The company defended its position by stating that the delay was due to changing its registrar. The statement said: “The company had changed its registrar to the Fixed Deposit scheme from Link Intime India Private Limited (Link Intime) to Adroit Corporate Services Private Limited (Adroit) in the month of January 2012. The company thought it prudent to change the registrar due to better services and upgraded software used by Adroit as compared to Link Intime. As Adroit had to set up the Fixed Deposit system post shifting of the records from Link Intime, there had been a small delay in issue of Fixed Deposit Receipt.” As of 31 March 2012, Zenith Birla has fixed deposits of Rs33.19 crore, but claims that it has not defaulted on them.
Moneylife sent an email to the Yash Birla companies for their responses. Till the time of writing the story, we have not received any answers from them. We will incorporate their answers as and when we receive them.