SC finds no fault with PM, Chidambaram in 2G allocation

The two-member bench of the Supreme Court found that TRAI’s recommendations of 2007 on the policy of first-come first-serve basis was placed before the Telecom Commission in October but the four non- permanent members, including the finance secretary, were not even informed about the meeting

New Delhi: While the Supreme Court on Thursday came down heavily on former telecom minister A Raja, it has not found any fault on the part of prime minister Manmohan Singh or the then finance minister P Chidambaram or the ministry he headed, reports PTI.

The judgement has strongly indicted Mr Raja over the manner in which he manipulated the issue of licenses and ordered cancellation of the 122 second generation (2G) licenses in 22 circles.

The two-member bench of justices GS Singhvi and Ashok Ganguly found that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations of 2007 on the policy of first-come first-serve basis was placed before the Telecom Commission (TC) in October but the four non- permanent members, including the finance secretary, were not even informed about the meeting.

A week later, Mr Raja accepted the recommendations of the TC and approved the TRAI’s recommendation but did not get in touch with the ministry of finance to discuss and finalise the spectrum pricing formula.

“However, as the minister of C &IT (Mr Raja) was very much conscious of the fact that the secretary, finance, had objected to the allocation of 2G spectrum at the rates fixed in 2001, he did not consult the finance minister (Mr Chidambaram) or the officers of the finance ministry,” the judgement said.

Mr Raja sent a letter in November 2007 to the prime minister saying the Department of Telecom (DoT) has decided to continue with the existing policy. He did not bother to consider the suggestion made by the prime minister that in view of the inadequate availability of spectrum fairness and transparency should be maintained in its allocation.

But within a few hours of the receipt of the letter from the prime minister, Mr Raja sent a reply in which he brushed aside the suggestion made by the prime minister of ensuring fairness and transparency by saying that it will be “unfair, discriminatory, arbitrary and capacious” to auction the spectrum to new applicants as it will not give them a level-playing field.

The finance secretary sent a letter in November 2007 to the telecom secretary and questioned how the rate of Rs1,600 crore determined in 2001 could be applied, without any indexation, to a licence to be given in 2008.

The finance secretary also emphasised that, in view of the financial implication, the finance ministry should have been consulted.

The telecom secretary promptly replied by sending a letter a week later in which he mentioned that as per the Cabinet decision of 2003, the DoT had been authorised to finalise the details of implementation of TRAI recommendations of 2007 that had not suggested any change in the entry fee/licence fee.

Mr Raja sent a letter to the prime minister in December 2007 that “DoT follows a policy of first-come first-serve for granting letter of intent to the applicants for Universal Access Service (UAS) licence. The same has been concurred by the Solicitor General of India during the discussions.”

The judgement referred to the arguments that the meeting of the full Commission, which was scheduled to be held on 9 January 2008 to consider important issues of performance of the telecom sector and pricing of spectrum, was postponed to 15th January.

The government had said that all the applicants including those who were not even eligible for UAS licence collected their Letters of Intent on 10 January 2008.

The 9th January meeting of the TC was deliberately postponed because the finance secretary had strongly objected in November to the charging of the entry fee fixed in 2001.

The court found that while making recommendations in August 2007 TRAI itself had recognised that spectrum was a scarce commodity and had suggested allocation of 2G spectrum on the basis of 2001 price by invoking the theory of level- playing field.

Its recommendations became a handle for Mr Raja and officers of DoT who virtually gifted away the “important national asset at throw away prices”, the court said.

The court also said the recommendations made by TRAI on 28 September 2007 were not placed before the full Commission which, among others, would have included the finance secretary.

“The notice of meeting of the Telecom Commission was not given to any of the non-permanent members..... In such matter, it was absolutely necessary for the DoT to take the opinion of the finance ministry,” the judgement said.

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Shriram Transport rolls out Automall in Aurangabad

The Automall facility spread across a sprawling 2 lakh sq ft space is the first-of-its kind initiative, which will give access to the country’s large community of truck-owners to trade their vehicles in a hassle-free manner.

Shriram Transport Finance Company Limited, India’s largest asset financing company, launched Shriram Automall in Aurangabad. The Automall brings to the city, the country’s first single- window destination for trade of pre-owned trucks. U G Revankar, deputy managing director, who graced the occasion, inaugurated Shriram Automall in Aurangabad.

The facility spread across a sprawling 2 lakh sq ft space, is the first-of-its kind initiative, which will give access to the country’s large community of truck-owners to trade their vehicles in a hassle-free manner. Apart from trading of trucks, Automall also facilitates the owners to seek financing and insurance options, as well as provides major and minor repair facilities. As an add-on facility, Rest rooms for travel fatigued truck drivers and cleaners are also provided. The company plans to have a pan-India network of 50 such Automall strategically located on important highways of the country.

 “The Automall is a one stop which facilitates the buying and selling of used commercial vehicle and will assist in the registration of individual buyers’ requirements. Road transport is the lifeline of India’s growing economy. Automall will benefit truckers by promptly replacing their vehicles leading to modernization of the country’s trucking fleet. The facility will house hundreds of pre-owned vehicles both in as-is-where-is and refurbished condition and truckers will be able to trade in a transparent manner. This is the first Automall in Aurangabad and we hope that it brings progress and eases life of the truckers” said Mr.Revankar.

The Automall also houses Shriram One Stop, a computerized touch screen kiosk, which is a virtual Truck Bazaar, providing real time information about used commercial vehicles available for sale and simultaneously facilitate registration of individual buyer’s requirements. One Stop will bring more transparency in the process of buying and selling used commercial vehicles.

The Automall includes Shriram New Look, wherein refurbished pre-owned commercial vehicles are put on display for buying with inbuilt financing options.  

In the late afternoon, Shriram Transport Finance Co Ltd was trading at around Rs596.90 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 2.29% up from the previous close.

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Aanjaneya Lifecare acquires Apex Drugs and Intermediates

The acquisition by Aanjaneya Lifecare was valued at Rs250 crore; with debt of Rs185 crore and equity dilution of Rs65 crore.

Mumbai-based Aanjaneya Lifecare Limited, a leading manufacturer of bulk drugs, has announced that the company has acquired Apex Drugs and Intermediates Ltd (ADIL), an integrated API and pharma intermediates manufacturing company based in Hyderabad. The acquisition was valued at Rs250 crore; with debt of Rs185 crore and equity dilution of Rs65 crore.

Aanjaneya Lifecare has acquired ADIL’s assets, businesses, clients, licensees, employees and has merged both the companies’ operations, becoming a fully integrated formulation company. The company will also leverage the strong relations of ADIL developed in Asia, Europe, UAE and Latin America for exports. The acquisition also gives Aanjaneya an entry in Hyderabad market.

Post-acquisition Aanjaneya Lifecare will have approximate sales of Rs700 crore with EBITDA of Rs130 crore and total long term debt in books of about Rs220 crore against networth of Rs365 crore. The company’s debt to equity ratio would be less than one. In monetary terms, Aanjaneya Lifecare can sell 40% of the APIs into formulations and formulation sales would be three times the API sales.

The acquisition would widen the footprints of the company through its easy access to the product portfolio of ADIL and enable it to cross–sell the products to ADIL’s customer base. The product portfolio of Aanjaneya Lifecare will be widened by ADIL’s API business of Aids, HIV, Diabetes, Ace inhibitors and CNS. The acquisition has saved time that would have taken 3-4 years time to secure clearances.
Aanjaneya Lifecare with its strong presence in API and formulation business, the company in future also plans to expand its product portfolio to lifestyle segment. This will enable the company to have diversified product portfolio which will help it to become a fully integrated formulation company.

Commenting on the acquisition of Apex Drugs and Intermediates, Dr. Kannan Vishwanath, vice chairman and managing director of Aanjaneya Lifecare said,” We are very pleased to announce the acquisition of Apex Drugs and Intermediates Ltd (ADIL). It will reduce the company’s dependence on third parties for pricing and supply to a large extent. Going further the company also plans to enter into lifestyle segment. The acquisition will not only strengthen Aanjaneya Lifecare’s presence in the Hyderabad market but would also expand its stronger growth footprint in their market”.

In the late afternoon, Aanjaneya Lifecare was trading at around Rs538.45 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 3.82% down from the previous close.

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