New Delhi: The Supreme Court today cancelled the bail granted to Satyam Computer Services founder B Ramalinga Raju, his brother B Rama Raju and four others, by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, in the biggest corporate fraud case in the country. Hearing the plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a Supreme Court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma cancelled the bail and asked all the six persons to surrender by 8th November.
The judges observed that the case was the biggest scam in the history of the country and had affected a large number of shareholders, banks and financial institutions; therefore, the High Court order granting bail could not be sustained. The Court also directed the Special Court in Hyderabad, which is conducting the Satyam trial, to conclude its proceedings by July 2011. Earlier this month, the bench had issued a notice to Raju, directing him to file his reply on the CBI’s plea.
Raju was granted bail by the High Court on 18th August this year. He had been in custody since January 2009 when he wrote a letter to the board explaining financial irregularities. The admission that he had overstated company assets by more than $1 billion, triggered a stock slump and a government takeover that led to the sale of the Hyderabad-based software-services exporter to Tech Mahindra.
Today, the Supreme Court observed that the trial was pending in a Special Court and detailed reasons for granting bail were not given by the High Court. “Normally, the apex court does not interfere in such cases where bail has been granted by the High Court, but the facts of the case demand that we should interfere,” the judges said.
In its petition for cancellation of the bail, the CBI said that Satyam’s founder and former chief “misused” the bail by meeting one of the witnesses in the case and tried to “influence” him. The CBI has filed a chargesheet running into over 10,000 pages, naming more than 250 witnesses. Such a huge volume was criticised by the court in its hearing on 19th October.
The High Court had granted bail to the Raju brothers as well as to four employees of Satyam—Srinivas, Ramakrishna, Venkatapathi and Srisailam. The CBI had approached the Supreme Court on 13th September, saying that Raju might influence the witnesses, a majority of who were his former employees. The High Court allowed Raju bail on the grounds that all the other accused in the case had already been granted bail.
Raju, who was arrested on 9th January 2009, is undergoing treatment for a liver infection at the state-run Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences. The Supreme Court ordered that he should appear before the trial court after he is discharged. The Special Court was set up by the Andhra Pradesh government in November 2009 and a judge was appointed on 25th February this year.
New Delhi: Telecom minister A Raja today said mobile number portability (MNP), which allows subscribers to retain numbers even after changing service operators, will be kicked off from 1st November, starting with Haryana, reports PTI.
"1st November onwards MNP would be operational partially...
We wanted to inaugurate in Haryana," Mr Raja told reporters here.
The service is expected to be rolled out in the rest of the country in phases.
Its implementation is already delayed thrice due to different reasons. Necessary infrastructure not being in place was one of the reasons for delay.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) had given licences to Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions, a 74:26 joint venture between US-based Telcordia and Deepak Talwar Consultants Pvt Ltd to implement MNP.
Mixed cues from Asian bourses did not deter the Indian market from opening with gains. However, choppiness ahead of the futures and options (F&O) contract expiry, due on Thursday, kept the market in the red for a major part of the session.
The local market opened in the green this morning despite the Asian pack trading mixed. The indices were seen on both sides of the neutral side amid choppy trade. However, profit-booking after recent gains pulled the indices into the red in noon trade. Attempts to recover were thwarted by selling pressure, keeping the market in the negative terrain till the end of the session.
The Sensex ended 81.73 points (0.40%) lower at 20,221. The index touched an intraday high of 20,344 and a low of 20,189. The Nifty settled at 6,082, down 23.80 points (0.39%). The index oscillated between a high-low of 6,120 and 6,074 today.
Losers outnumbered the gainers today. The Sensex ended with 17 stocks in the red against 13 gainers. The Nifty had 35 in the declining list while 15 stocks ended in the green. The broader indices displayed a contrasting trend; while the BSE Mid-cap index lost 0.42%, the BSE Small-cap index gained 0.22%.
The top Sensex performers were Maruti Suzuki (up 3.59%), ITC (up 1.30%) and Jaiprakash Associates (up 1.04%). Tata Steel (down 2.62%), Bharti Airtel (down 2.42%) and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) (down 2.21%) were the top losers on the index.
The sectoral space had only three gainers - BSE Consumer Durables (CD) (up 1.99%), BSE Auto (up 0.86%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) (up 0.50%). The sectoral laggards included BSE Metal (down 1.21%), BSE Bankex (down 0.84%) and BSE PSU (0.77%).
The economy will grow by 8.25%-8.75% this fiscal and will return to an average growth rate of 9% soon, but food prices will continue to drive inflation, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.
Stating that gross tax revenue has grown at a "robust" pace so far in the current fiscal and proceeds from spectrum sale and disinvestment would help curb the fiscal deficit, Mr Mukherjee said that economic growth would exceed 9% in the near future.
Markets in Asia ended on a soft note as the Japanese yen rose to a near 15-year high against the dollar, impacting exporters in the region. Tuesday's rally, fuelled by the move by the Singapore Exchange to take over the Australian Securities Exchange, lured investors to book profits today. Nervousness ahead of the US Federal Reserve meet next week also kept investors on the sidelines.
The Shanghai Composite was down 0.32%, Hang Seng fell 0.11%, Nikkei 225 declined 0.25% and Straits Times fell 0.62%. On the other hand, Jakarta Composite was up 0.29%, KLSE Composite gained 0.37%, Seoul Composite rose 0.19% and Taiwan Weighted added 0.44% today.
The government is likely to dilute its stake in seven more companies this fiscal, including 10% disinvestment in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in January and Steel Authority of India Ltd's (SAIL) stake sale in February, to meet the target of raising Rs40,000 crore.
Aiming to raise this amount through disinvestment this fiscal, the government has mopped up Rs1,062 crore by divesting stake in Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, and Rs960 crore through the Engineers India FPO. Besides, it will raise over Rs15,000 crore from the Coal India public issue, which closed last week.
Wall Street ended higher overnight on a lower dollar, which increased the appetite for riskier assets like stocks and commodities. Hopes that the US Federal Reserve will announce steps to boost the economy also supported the gains. In other news, existing-home sales rose more than expected in September. Sales of existing homes increased 10% to an annual rate of 4.53 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Dow gained 31.49 points (0.28%) to 11,164. The S&P 500 added 2.54 points (0.21%) to 1,185. The Nasdaq rose 11.46 points (0.46%) to 2,490.85.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs587 crore in the equities segment on Monday. Domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs386 crore on the same day.
Tata Global Beverages Ltd (formerly Tata Tea) (down 0.86%) has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that the company's UK subsidiary has acquired a minority stake in the equity capital of Activate, a performance beverage and bottled water company, based in US. The subsidiary has an option to increase its stake over the next 12 months. The investment is in line with the company's strategic vision to become a leader in the 'good for you' beverage segment.
Auto component manufacturer Ingersoll Rand (down 1.83%) has said that it is setting up a manufacturing facility at an investment of $20 million (around Rs88 crore) over the next 18 months, for which it is currently evaluating two locations in southern India.
The company will invest about $20 million for setting up the facility, which is likely to be ready within the next 18 months. Earlier this year, the company had announced $100-million (around Rs444 crore) investment in India for setting up a greenfield facility and product development over the next three years.
The board of Swaraj Engines (down 0.06%) has approved the company's expansion plan to increase its installed capacity from 36,000 engines to 60,000 engines per year. Besides capacity augmentation, investment will also be allocated towards enhancing the company's engineering, research and quality edges.
The proposed expansion will entail total capex of about Rs40 crore, which will be fully financed from internal resources.