Citizens' Issues
SC dismisses special leave petition of Helios and Matheson

The recent order by the apex court paves way to restart proceedings against the accused, including H&M's chairman V Ramachandran, in the vMoksha case

The Supreme Court has dismissed the special leave petitions (SPL) filed by Helios & Matheson Information Technology Ltd (H&M) and Pawan Kumar, the then chief executive officer of vMoksha Technologies. Both have challenged the Bombay High Court (HC) order, which allowed the revision application of vMoksha’s co-founder Rajiv Sawhney against H&M.

Dismissing the SPLs, the apex court said, “In the result, we see no reason to interfere with the order passed by the High Court in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.”

In an order passed on 6 May 2011, the HC had restored an order passed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) of the 47th Court at Mumbai, to restart proceedings against the accused, including H&M's chairman V Ramachandran.

While dismissing the SLPs, the SC said, “It is interesting to note that even in the present SLPs the petitioner has filed an unsigned copy of the alleged minutes of the meeting   dated 19th July, 2005. We do not think that we can possibly look into that document without proper proof and without verification of its genuineness. There was and is no clear and unequivocal admission on the record, at least none was brought to our notice, regarding the genuineness of the document or its probative value.”

 Earlier, Justice JH Bhatia of the Bombay HC in an order had said, “The Additional Sessions Judge, on the basis of facts disclosed in the complaint, had also come to the conclusion that a prima facie case was made out. Having come to such a conclusion, the judge embarked upon the consideration of other grounds and quashed the order, which was well-reasoned and based on facts disclosed in the complaint. Therefore, in my opinion, it is a fit case where this Court should, under its inherent power under Section 482, interfere and quash the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge.”

Moneylife had previously reported about the bruising battle between H&M and Rajeev Sawhney.

The case dates back to 2005, when shareholders of vMoksha, an IT company, decided to sell its three units. The company appointed PriceWaterhouseCooper, who found out H&M as potential buyer for vMoksha's three units. On 11 May 2005, both the companies signed a share purchase agreement under which V Ramachandran, chairman of H&M, was to pay $19 million for the three units, out of which $4 million was to be paid to Pawan Kumar, the then chief executive of vMoksha and also former CEO of the controversial DSQ Software, as earn out. Although, Pawan Kumar and his family members were also stakeholders in vMoksha, Mr Sawhney later bought out their stake as well.
Mr Ramachandran was supposed to pay $13.4 million to Mr Sawhney, after paying some amount to Tapan Garg and Madhuri Garg, son and wife of Pawan Kumar for their holding. Mr Sawhney soon realised that he had been kept in the dark about many aspects of the deal. For instance, he found that instead of receiving $19 million, a bank account had been 'fraudulently' opened in the State Bank of Mauritius in vMoksha's name and used to borrow $13.5 million, using a fake board sanction and false entries. That money was remitted to H&M ostensibly for subscription of redeemable preference shares on 28 June 2005.
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Moneylife had also reported on how the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), had fined H&M Rs50 lakh for making false announcements to influence the stock price and hiding information about acquisition of vMoksha.


IDBI Top 100 Equity fund: Is it the top fund to buy?

IDBI Mutual Fund which was set up last year plans to launch its first diversified equity mutual fund

Currently IDBI Mutual Fund just has two index funds benchmarked against the Nifty index and the Nifty Junior index. According to the offer document filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the new scheme would be an open ended equity scheme—IDBI India Top 100 Equity fund. As the name suggests the scheme would invest in the top 100 companies, restricted to those which are present on the CNX 100 index. The performance of the fund will be benchmarked against this index. Surprisingly, IDFC has kept an option to invest as much as 30% in debt and money market instruments, which is quite high considering it is an equity fund.

Is this fund worth investing in? Well, IDBI does not have a proven track record in equity funds yet. The fund manager of the scheme, V Balasubramanian, comes in with 30 years of financial experience and 14 years in the mutual fund industry. Hopefully his experience should justify paying 2.5% by the investors.

There are many similar funds of other fund companies. There is DSP Blackrock Top 100 Equity Fund, LIC Nomura MF Top 100 and UTI Top 100, apart from top performers like HDFC Top 200. On analysing the performance of these funds over the last 1-year, 3-year and 5-year period, we find that LIC has performed the worst. We have written about the poor quality of its fund management earlier, as well. Launched in 2008, it was unable to beat the benchmark in the 1-year and 3-year period. DSP Blackrock was able to beat its benchmark over all the three periods. UTI marginally underperformed its benchmark in the 5-year period.

Therefore if you are planning to invest in an equity scheme which predominantly invests in large caps, we would suggest checking out the track record of other equity diversified schemes as well and select a fund with a proven track record. Fortunately, the timing is right. The market is reasonably valued and an investment now will be profitable over 3-5 years. But that can be said about many other schemes, as well.


2G case: Court takes cognizance of charge-sheet against Essar, Loop

The CBI in its charge-sheet filed on 12th December has accused the Essar and Loop promoters of conspiring to cheat the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) but has not found evidence to prosecute theme under the Prevention of Corruption Act

New Delhi: Essar group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia along with five others were today issued summons by a Delhi court which took cognizance of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) charge-sheet arising out of investigation in the second generation (2G) scam case, reports PTI.

Special judge OP Saini also issued summons to Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband IP Khaitan and Essar Group director (strategy and planning) Vikas Saraf and three companies—Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India and Essar Tele Holding—named as accused in the third charge-sheet.

They have been asked to appear before the court on 27 January 2012.

The CBI in its charge-sheet filed on 12th December has accused the Essar and Loop promoters of conspiring to cheat the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) but has not found evidence to prosecute theme under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

It said “investigation has not revealed evidence to prove mala-fide on the part of public servants in the matter.”

The Essar Group, in a statement, had denied any involvement in the 2G scam and said it has complied with in totality with all conditions of telecom licences. It claimed that the CBI has confirmed that Essar was not involved in the 2G scam.

The CBI has said the accused persons and companies created a “complex corporate veil” to cheat DoT by concealing that Essar, an existing telecom operator having substantial shares in Vodafone (then Hutch), was having more than 10 per cent stake in Loop Telecom.


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