SC asks govt to file CBI report on suspended Prasar Bharati CEO BS Lalli

The court also asked Mr Lalli to file his response in four weeks on the statement of evidence filed by the government on alleged irregularities committed by him in running Prasar Bharati

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the government to file the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on the probe into alleged irregularities committed by suspended Prasar Bharati CEO BS Lalli in running the public broadcaster, reports PTI.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia sought the report within six weeks.

It also asked Mr Lalli to file his response in four weeks on the statement of evidence filed by the government on alleged irregularities committed by him in running Prasar Bharati.

The court has granted another four weeks to the government to file its rejoinder to the response of Mr Lalli and has posted the matter after eight weeks.

The Supreme Court had on 14th February initiated proceedings on a presidential reference for Mr Lalli's removal and asked the Centre to place evidence of alleged irregularities committed by him.

The court had also asked the government to file a statement of facts relating to Mr Lalli's irregularities and asked the former public broadcaster chief to respond to it.

Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for Mr Lalli, had urged the court to expeditiously hear the reference in view of his retirement in December this year.

Mr Lalli, a 1971-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, was suspended last December. President Pratibha Patil had on 21st December last ordered Mr Lalli's suspension and made a reference to the apex court for his removal on the recommendation of the government.

According to the Prasar Bharati Act, the chairman or a member of Prasar Bharati can be removed only by an order of the president on the ground of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court holds an inquiry following a reference to it.

Mr Lalli, 67, was suspended after allegations were levelled against him for financial and administrative irregularities in award of a contract for broadcast of the Commonwealth Games to UK-based firm SIS Live.

Prasar Bharati was formed in 1997 as a public service broadcaster. This is the first time that its CEO faces the prospect of being removed from the post.

Mr Lalli, who had assumed the CEO's post in December 2006, was indicted by the Central Vigilance Commission which accused him of breach of parliamentary privilege, giving undue favours to some broadcast companies and financial mismanagement.

Reacting to the presidential reference, Mr Lalli had said that "a lot of intrigue and mischief" was going on within the organisation against him that was "abetted and encouraged" by powerful elements from outside.

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March factory output index unchanged at 57.9

Inflationary pressures intensified during March, as both input and output prices rose at faster rates than in the previous month

The seasonally adjusted HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)-a headline index to measure the overall health of the manufacturing sector-posted 57.9 in March, unchanged since February. The latest reading indicates a marked strengthening of business conditions in the Indian manufacturing sector, which remained above the long-run trend.

Indian manufacturers reported a substantial increase in new business received during the month under review. Moreover, the rate of new order growth accelerated to a thirty-one month high. Panellists commented that the high quality of products and ongoing improvements in general economic conditions had helped to boost new work intakes. However, the rise in new export business was marginally slower than in the previous survey period. Nonetheless, the expansion remained strong in the context of historical data.

The sharp growth of overall new orders supported a further increase in output. However, the rate of output growth was broadly in line with that indicated in February. Subsequently, backlogs of work rose again and at the fastest rate in four months. Anecdotal evidence suggested that shortages of materials and manpower also contributed to the accumulation of outstanding business.

March data signalled a marginal rise in stocks of finished goods at factories in India. Where an increase in post-production inventories was indicated, this was attributed to strong output growth.

Employment in the Indian manufacturing sector fell for a third consecutive month in March, as manufacturers continued to struggle to fill vacant positions. Purchasing activity rose substantially during March, reflective of the sustained expansions of new orders and output. Moreover, the increase in input buying was the fastest since February 2008. Subsequently, stocks of purchases also rose. Suppliers' delivery times shortened fractionally during March, but the majority of panellists indicated that lead times were unchanged since February.

Inflationary pressures intensified during March, as both input and output prices rose at faster rates than in the previous month. Input cost inflation was the strongest in the series history, driven by higher raw material prices. This led to a further marked rise in charges, which was the second-fastest in the history of the series.

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R Sridharan named acting chairman of SBI

Formal decision yet to be taken on new chairman to succeed OP Bhatt; Mr Sridharam, who is managing director, will take charge today

Mumbai: R Sridharan will take over as acting chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI) from OP Bhatt, who superannuated yesterday.

Mr Sridharan, has been the managing director and group executive (associates and subsidiaries) at the bank, and will take charge today, PTI reported, quoting unnamed sources. He began his career with SBI in 1972, the same as Mr Bhatt, and has served with the country's largest bank through these years. Mr Sridharan, is a graduate from the University of Madras. He was appointed MD in December 2008.

The government is said to be considering appointing SBI's deputy managing director Pratip Chaudhuri to succeed Mr Bhatt, but with a formal decision yet to be taken, it has appointed an acting chairman.

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