Turning down the Centre's plea seeking one week's time to come out with an alternate name, a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly said it will pass a formal order on the appointment of Mr Lalit on 11th April
New Delhi: Brushing aside the Centre's objections, the Supreme Court on Friday said it would pass an order for the appointment of senior advocate UU Lalit as special public prosecutor for holding the trial of former telecom minister A Raja and others in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case on a day-to-day basis without any adjournments, reports PTI.
Turning down the Centre's plea seeking one week's time to come out with an alternate name, a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly said it will pass a formal order on the appointment of Mr Lalit on 11th April.
"We intend to pass an order directing the government to come out with a notification on the appointment of Mr Lalit as special public prosecutor. He will also have the choice to suggest the names of other prosecutors to assist him in the case," the bench said.
The Centre, however, continued to raise objection and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising, said that court should also record her statement on the government's reservation on the name of Mr Lalit.
"I do not want to be seen as consenting to the Supreme Court order," she said when the bench refused to grant more time as sought by the government which pleaded for adjournment of the case.
Senior advocate KK Venugopal, who has been appearing on behalf of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's premier investigating agency, and the ED (Enforcement Directorate), did not find support from another ASG Haren Rawal, also appearing for the ED, who said "it was not the suggestion of ED" but the personal opinion of Mr Venugopal.
Mr Venugopal, however, insisted on the name of Mr Lalit saying "he is a person of integrity, wholly independent and well versed in criminal law".
The court after hearing the arguments fixed 11th April for passing order as the special court, exclusively set up for holding the 2G scam trial, is to conduct further proceeding on 13th April.
"We would make it clear in our order that the special court would hold trial on day-to-day basis and no adjournment on any basis would be allowed," the bench said adding that no court shall entertain any petition or application in the case and any thing relating to the case has to be filed in the Supreme Court.
The bench also directed the CBI and the ED to brief it about their second stage of probe into the scam after the CBI filed its first charge-sheet in the case on 2nd April in the special court.
Mr Venugopal said that the second charge-sheet regarding bribery angle in the scam will be filed before 24th April.
He said after the filing of the charge-sheets, the role of the apex court in monitoring the case will come to an end.
Earlier, the Centre had objected to the appointment of Mr Lalit as SPP saying he did not meet the eligibility criteria for the task.
The Centre raised technical objections to Mr Lalit's appointment saying that he should have worked under the state or the Union government for at least seven years to be eligible as the case has been filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Mr Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, had submitted that Mr Lalit had been in the lawyer's panel for the Maharashtra government and the Centre for 15 years and five years respectively and he fulfils the criteria.
But Attorney General GE Vahanvati had submitted that being in the panel is not sufficient and one should be the government's standing counsel for seven years.
The court had said that the Act does not mention the word "standing counsel" and the objection raised was highly technical which should be given "reasonable" interpretation.
Mr Vahanvati had said there were some apprehensions that Lalit's appointment as the SPP could be challenged at any stage and it may derail the entire prosecution of the case.
The CBI has registered cases against Mr Raja and others under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The agency had on 1st April informed the apex court that Mr Lalit will be appointed as SPP for assisting the special court, set up for the exclusive trial of the 2G spectrum case.
Maintaining that in the given circumstances, Mr Lalit was the best choice as CBI's special public prosecutor, Mr Venugopal had pointed out that he had a vast experience in various criminal laws.
The agency in its first charge-sheet alleged that Mr Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Mr Raja's personal secretary RK Chandolia, Shahid Usman Balwa and Sanjay Chandra entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.
Others named in the charge sheet include Vinod Goenka, a director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, managing director of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, group managing director and two senior vice presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance Telecom Company.
The market regulator said its restrictions would remain in force till Aashi Industries, Dharnendra Overseas, AEC Enterprises, Solid Carbide Tools and Dharnendra Industries resolve all pending investor grievances
The market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has barred directors of four companies and Dharnendra Overseas Ltd from the markets for failing to address investor grievances. In an order dated 7th April, the market regulator said its restrictions would remain in force till the companies resolve all pending investor grievances.
SEBI has barred Aashi Industries' directors Dhaval A Jhaveri, Seema D Jhaveri and Dilipkumar Puri, AEC Enterprises' directors RD Apte, Sanjeev R Apte, Vikram V Desai, GP Sharma and Dinesh Sharma, Dharnendra Industries' directors Dharnendra B Gandhi, Navinchandra B Gandhi, Bhupendra B Gandhi and Bharat P Delvala, Solid Carbide Tools' directors Mukesh M Kothari, Narendra C Joshi and Dilip Suresh Shah. It also barred Dharnendra Overseas from buying, selling or otherwise dealing in the markets until all the pending investor grievances are resolved.
The market regulator said, as on 24 September 2008, it found 61 investor grievances pending by Solid Carbide Tools. All reminders and letters sent by SEBI to the company were returned undelivered. On 23 January 2009, the market regulator put up a public notice of its web site for Solid Carbide Tools, but it did not receive any response from the company.
SEBI later sent notices to Solid Carbide Tools' directors Mukesh M Kothari, Narendra C Joshi and Dilip Suresh Shah. Only Dilip Shah acknowledged the show-cause notice. However, he too failed to respond to the notice. When SEBI published a public notice in some local newspapers, Narendra Joshi sent a letter on 27 July 2010 in which he stated that he was never attached to the company in any manner and was not in a position to give any information regarding Solid Carbide Tools. However, SEBI said, Mr Joshi had signed as a director of the company in the annual report for 1999-2000 that was sent to the Registrar of Companies, Maharashtra, under its seal.
In the order, Dr KM Abraham, whole-time member, SEBI, said, "Sufficient opportunities have been provided to the company to redress the pending investor grievances listed by SEBI, since September 2008. However, it failed to respond. No action taken report was submitted by the company to SEBI, as advised. The protection of investors in the securities market is one of the paramount duties of SEBI and the present case involves a listed company that not only failed to redress investors' grievances, but also failed to respond to the letters/show-cause notice issued by SEBI. In such circumstances, permitting the company and its directors to access or deal in the securities market would be against the interests of the investors."
Similarly, SEBI found 122 investor complaints pending as on 2 September 2010 against Ahmedabad-based Dharnendra Overseas, 61 complaints pending as on 24 September 2008 against Madhya Pradesh-based AEC Enterprises, 416 investor grievances pending as on 25 September 2008 against Gujarat-based Aashi Industries and 101 complaints unresolved as on 24 September 2008 against Dharnendra Industries.
In the matter of AEC Enterprises, SEBI said, V Saminathan and Navneet Kampani, two of directors, have resigned from the company board in 1999 and the proceedings against them were disposed off without any directions.
Indices record sharpest decline in four days on dull earnings outlook
Contrary to our expectations, the Indian market opened with marginal gains as its Asian peers picked up momentum despite the news of another earthquake striking the north-eastern coast of Japan on Thursday. The Sensex added 12 points at the opening at 19,603 and the Nifty was a point up at 5,887. Realty, banking and fast-moving consumer goods counters witnessed good demand in early trade. The indices scaled the day's high within the first half hour. At the day's high the Sensex had added 106 points at 19,697 and the Nifty was up 41 points to 5,927.
Then the market saw a sudden bout of selling, which pushed the indices into the red soon after they touched the day's peak. Subsequently, trading was sluggish and the indices dropped to intra-day lows in the last hour. The Sensex fell to 19,388, a decline of 203 points and the Nifty retraced 64 points to 5,822. The market closed off those levels-the Sensex at 19,451, a decline of 140 points, and the Nifty at 5,842, down by 44 points. Today's decline was sharper than on Thursday. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 587:1504.
The broader indices lagged behind the Sensex today, with the BSE Mid-cap index declining 1.25% and the BSE Small-cap index tanking 1.40%.
BSE Realty (down 2.52%), BSE Auto (down 1.87%), BSE Consumer Durables (down 1.48%), BSE PSU (down 1.37%) and BSE Oil & Gas (down 1.33%) were the top sectoral losers. BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.39%) and BSE Capital Goods (up 0.15%) were the only sectoral gainers.
In the Sensex space, Bharti Airtel (up 1.56%), ITC (up 0.88%) and Larsen & Toubro (up 0.51%) were the gainers worth mentioning. The laggards were led by Jaiprakash Associates (down 3.77%), DLF (down 3.73%), Hindalco Industries (down 2.99%), Tata Motors (down 2.84%) and Reliance Infrastructure (down 2.12%).
Chief economic advisor to the Union finance ministry, Kaushik Basu, has said that although inflation has not gone out of hand, it is still not in the comfort zone. While the Reserve Bank of India had been following a tight monetary policy to control inflation, the government is also doing its best, he said. Although India is on a high growth trajectory, inflation and corruption were the two big clouds looming over the country, Mr Basu said.
Markets in Asia, led by the Nikkei, settled mostly higher as the tremors that rocked northern Japan yesterday resulted in little damage and spared the nuclear power plants. Shipbuilders in Korea helped the Seoul Composite close higher, while the Chinese and Hong Kong market witnessed institutional buying.
The Shanghai Composite gained 0.74%, the Hang Seng rose 0.47%, the Jakarta Composite advanced 0.30%, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.85%, the Straits Times gained 0.49% and the Seoul Composite was up 0.27%. On the other hand, the KLSE Composite lost 0.28% and the Taiwan Weighted lost 0.08%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs220.59 crore on Thursday, while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs212.16 crore.
KEC International (up 0.18%) today announced its foray into the water business with its first order worth Rs31 crore. The order is from the Water Resource Department of the Madhya Pradesh government. The project involves renovation, repairs and remodelling of canals under the Urmil Tank Project in Chattrapur district of Madhya Pradesh.
Tech Mahindra (down 1.22%) has secured a contract to manage the IT systems of Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) for five years. The total value of the contract is estimated at about $250 million. As per the contract , the Indian IT services major will cover day-to-day IT operations and infrastructure such as servers and data centres (including break/fix support) across both of VHA's mobile brands-Vodafone and '3'-in addition to application maintenance and management.
Tata Steel's (down 1.23%) output and sales registered a smart increase in 2010-11 compared to the previous fiscal, following the successful implementation of its expansion plan. Production of hot metal increased by 3.8% to 7.5 million tonnes (MT) in 2010-11, from 7.231 MT in the previous year. Crude steel production touched 6.855 MT against 6.564 MT. In addition, saleable steel production rose by 3.9% to 6.691 MT in 2010-11.