Regulations
SC rejects Mallya's plea against ED, slaps Rs.10 lakh costs

In a setback to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected his plea challenging criminal proceedings for wilfully disobeying an Enforcement Directorate summons seeking his presence relating to a $200,000 payment to a British company for displaying the Kingfisher logo during 1996-98 Formula 1 events.
 
Dismissing the appeal, a bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also fined Mallya an "exemplary" cost of Rs.10 lakh that will go to the Supreme Court Legal Service Authority.
 
Rejecting his plea, the bench in its judgment said: "We do not see any merit in the appeal. We are also of the opinion that the entire approach adopted by the appellant (Mallya) is a sheer abuse of the process of law."
 
"Any other view of the matter would only go to once again establishing the notorious truth stated by Anatole France that 'the law in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread'," said Justice Goel pronouncing the judgment.
 
Mallya had challenged a Delhi High Court verdict of May 21, 2007, turning down his plea against the ED summons for violating the now defunct Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) for not responding to the summon issued to him four times.
 
He was summoned on four occasions - September 27, 1999, November 8, 1999, November 26, 1999 and December 21, 1999. 
 
In the first instance, Mallya got summons after the date of appearance but for the subsequent two, he had sought the date and in the case of fourth, he had contended that the summons were not by registered post as required under the procedure.
 
Taking a dig at Mallya over the tenor of his letter explaining his inability to appear on November 8, the court said: "From the tenor of the letter, it appears that it was not a case of mere seeking accommodation by the appellant (Mallya) but requiring date to be fixed by his convenience."
 
"Such stand by a person facing a allegation of serious nature could hardly be appreciated. Obviously, the enormous money power makes him believe that the state should adjust its affairs to suit his commercial convenience," it observed.
 
Holding that Mallya's plea required to be dismissed for more than one reason, the court said that the mere fact that the adjudicating officer chose to drop the proceedings against him "does not absolve" him of the "criminal liability incurred" by him by not responding to the summons to appear before the official in question.
 
Mallya had allegedly paid $200,000 to Benetton Formula Ltd for displaying his Kingfisher logo in the Formula One World Championships that was to be held in London and other European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998, allegedly without the Reserve Bank of India's prior approval in violation of the FERA. 
 
His subsequent application to the finance ministry on June 19, 1996 seeking approval for the payment made to British company was rejected on February 4, 1999.

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Higher food prices stoke June retail inflation
Rise in food and fuel prices propelled India's retail inflation to 5.40 percent in June from 5.01 percent in May, official data showed on Monday.
 
The data furnished by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that the retail, or the consumer price indexed (CPI) inflation, in the corresponding month of 2014 stood at 6.77 percent.
 
According to the CSO data, the CPI-urban for June inched higher to 4.55 percent from 4.41 percent in May. The June CPI-rural, meanwhile, jumped to 6.07 percent from 5.52 percent in May. 
 
The main cause for the rise in June inflation was attributed to costlier food items. 
 
The "Food and beverages" sub-indice in the CPI has the highest weightage in the CPI of about 45.86 percent. 
 
The "Food and beverages" sub-indice in the CPI rose to 5.48 percent from 4.80 percent in May. 
 
However, June 2015's food inflation was lower in comparison to the corresponding month of 2014, when it stood at 7.21 percent.
 
The food inflation in the urban areas touched 5.24 percent from 4.48 percent in May. The food inflation burden for the rural households in June rose to 5.61 percent from 4.74 percent in May.
 
The food inflation in rural and urban areas during the corresponding month of 2014 stood at 8.05 percent and 5.62 percent, respectively.

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Australian business looking at India as 'new China'
The Australian eagerness to open such a vast market as India to its service and manufacturing sectors is reflected through the statements made by its federal ministers
 
Those Australians who are worried over the slowing Chinese economy may have some reasons to smile as Canberra is already working desperately to stitch up a Free Trade Agreement with the world's second-most populous country - India.
 
If everything goes according to the Australians' plan there is every reason to believe that India would become one of the largest trading partners of Australia. She has the potential to become what is being called in some circles as Australia's "new China" - the largest trading partner at this stage.
 
The Australian eagerness to open such a vast market as India to its service and manufacturing sectors is reflected through the statements made by its federal ministers.
 
"We are working through the night ... putting pressure on them (India) to help us to get to the point where we can have a similar, very positive agreement," Treasurer Joe Hockey told a conference held in Canberra recently. Joe Hockey's statement came after the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) was signed mid-June.
 
Canberra intends to finalise a similar FTA with New Delhi by the end of this year.
 
A number of commentators are writing on how Australian and Indian geopolitical and economic interests are converging and how they can harness the synergies to the benefit of both the parties. If the signals being emitted from South Bock are being interpreted correctly, India is also showing some enthusiasm to conclude the negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) this year.
 
While the Liberal think tank could have 2016 elections in their sight, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government seems to be on an overdrive to propel what is often lauded as a tiger economy into accelerated growth.
 
Even though the Indo-Australian FTA negotiations commenced some seven years ago, it's the leadership of Narendra Modi and Tony Abbott which has added, as if, rocket fuel to the process. The clearly noticeable acceleration came after the Australian PM visited New Delhi and his Indian counterpart came Down Under in November last year.
 
At this stage, the two-way trade between the Indian Ocean rim countries is pegged at around A$15 billion which is just ten per cent of the value of Australia's trade with its largest trading partner China (2013-14 figures).
 
The sense of optimism among the Australian stakeholders for India is definitely palpable. Australian corporate honchos, especially those linked with services sector, are particularly buoyed by the thought of massive revenue the Indian market can churn. 
 
"Services represent around 70 per cent of Australia's economy, yet just 15 per cent of our exports. This is an export we are determined to grow and there are strong prospects with India across a wide range of services, given it is one of the world's most rapidly growing services markets on account of a rising middle class," Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb said in a statement recently.
 
A similar sentiment is being nursed by India's famed IT services sector which has been asking for barriers to be removed.
 
Robb has endeavoured to allay such fears and in fact painted a picture which is very different from the one being shown by the naysayers.
 
"All of this suggests that India's services sector stands to benefit enormously from trade and investment liberalisation."
 
Besides IT service providers, Indian businesses such pharmaceutical, farm and fruit producers, etc also stand to gain from the trade agreement between the two countries. Australians have identified areas like engineering, health services, educating, contracting, construction, architecture, design and the agriculture sector.
 
It is believed around two thousand goods and services have been identified by both the sides to be included in the CECA.
 
"The free trade agreement has also made progress with the two sides agreeing on 1,800 line items... And it is just a small part of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement," India's High Commissioner Navdeep Suri told Indian community members in Melbourne recently.
 
It is also believed that, once CECA is signed, more investment would flow into Australia from India and vice versa. Indian foreign investment into Australia is worth almost $11 billion, with A$6.6 billion of Australian investment in India.
 
"There could be no better illustration of India's potential to be at the centre of a new 'Services Silk Road' to drive growth in the world's most economically dynamic region," Robb said earlier this year.
 
It remains to be seen whether India would get an equal share in the revenue earned from the proposed 'Silk Road' or finish up just as full fare paying commuters.

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