Regulations
SEBI rejects 149 consent pleas; 16 from Reliance group

These include applications of RIL itself, as also various group companies and that of RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani's close aide Manoj Modi, India Infoline and HSBC Investdirect Securities

Mumbai: Indian Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has rejected as many as 149 consent applications, finding them unsuitable for settlement through payment of charges, including 16 from various entities related to Reliance Industries group, reports PTI.

 

These include applications of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) itself, as also various group companies and that of RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani's close aide Manoj Modi.

 

The other applications include those from brokerage firms India Infoline and HSBC Investdirect Securities and from entities in a case involving Bank of Rajasthan.

 

Under SEBI's consent mechanism, companies can seek to settle cases with the market regulator after payment of certain charges and disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains.

 

However, in May 2012 SEBI tightened the regulations for settlement through consent framework. Following that, many cases including some of those related to insider trading, can't be settled through this mechanism.

 

In a status report, SEBI has said that 149 consent applications have been rejected as they are not found to be in consonance with the revised guidelines and the proceedings in these cases will continue in accordance with law.

 

These include 13 applications from various entities in a case involving alleged violation of SEBI regulations for 'Prohibition of fraudulent and unfair trade practices' in a matter of RIL's erstwhile subsidiary Reliance Petroleum Ltd.

 

Besides, there are three applications related to alleged violation of 'Prohibition of Insider Trading Regulations' in the matter of another erstwhile RIL group company - Indian Petrochemicals Corp Ltd (IPCL) - which used to be a government-owned company and was later acquired by Mukesh Ambani-led group as part of a disinvestment exercise.

 

Both the companies, Reliance Petroleum and IPCL, used to be separately listed entities, but were later acquired by RIL and got delisted from the stock exchanges.

 

SEBI has also rejected consent applications of entities such as GMR Holdings Pvt Ltd, Edserve Softsystems Ltd, PMJ Properties, Garuda Plant Products Ltd and EPC Industries Ltd.

Others included Splash Media & Infra Ltd, Transglobal Securities, JMD Telefilms Industries Ltd, Chemo Pharma & Laboratories Ltd and Shree Consultations & Services Pvt Ltd, Chemo Pharma & Laboratories Ltd.

The market regulator said these rejected applications are related to alleged violations of 'Prohibition of Insider Trading Regulations', 'Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers' and 'Stock brokers and Sub-brokers' norms.

SEBI said HSBC Investdirect Securities's application is related to alleged violation of 'Prohibition of Insider Trading Regulations' in the matter of Adani Exports Ltd, while that of GMR Holdings is related to alleged violation of 'Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers'.

Besides, it has rejected consent application of India Infoline Ltd for alleged violation of clauses related to 'Stock Brokers and Sub-Brokers' in the matter of Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd.

SEBI has also rejected consent pleas of Saurabh Tayal, Sanjay Kumar Tayal, Navin Kumar Tayal, Pravin Kumar Tayal and Sovotex Textiles for alleged violation of 'Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices' in the matter of erstwhile Bank of Rajasthan.

The regulator said pending proceedings in these cases will continue in accordance with law.

"The rejection of consent application, however, shall not prejudice the pending proceedings in any manner," SEBI noted.

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Superstorm Sandy tops 2012 insurance claims

According to Munich Re total economic costs in 2012 from natural disasters worldwide including uninsured losses amounted to $160 billion, compared with the previous year's $400 billion

Berlin: Natural disasters cost insurers $65 billion last year, with the United States accounting for nine-tenths of the bill and Superstorm Sandy prompting payouts of $25 billion, reports PTI quoting a insurance company.

 

However, Munich Re AG said that the total insured losses worldwide were down from a record $119 billion in 2011, when devastating earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand cost the industry dear.

 

The company said total economic costs in 2012 from natural disasters worldwide including uninsured losses amounted to $160 billion, compared with the previous year's $400 billion.

 

Sandy, which battered eastern coastline areas at the end of October, killed at least 125 people in the United States and 71 people in the Caribbean. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the hardest-hit US states.

 

Munich Re estimated insured losses from Sandy at $25 billion and total losses at $50 billion, though it cautioned that the figures are "still subject to considerable uncertainty."

 

That made it the year's most costly disaster but several other events in the US meant that the country accounted for 90% of insured costs and 67% of overall losses, the company said.

 

Over the past decade the well-insured US on average accounted for 57% of insured losses and 32% of overall costs every year.

 

The lengthy drought that seared swathes of the United States last summer produced 2012's second-biggest insurance bill.

 

Munich Re said the insured losses, being picked up by a public-private crop insurance program, totaled between $15 billion and $17 billion most of the $20 billion worth of overall crop losses.

 

That was the biggest loss in US agricultural insurance history, comparing with average insured losses of about $9 billion a year, Munich Re said.

 

Severe storms and tornadoes in March, late April, June and July completed Munich Re's list of the five costliest disasters for insurers in 2012, each costing $2.5 billion.

 

Back-to-back earthquakes in northern Italy last May caused total losses of $16 billion, but only one-tenth of that was covered by insurance.

 

Deadly flooding in China in July caused damage worth $8 billion, but only a small fraction of that $180 million was insured.

 

Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek said in a statement that last year's heavy losses from weather-related disasters in the US "showed that greater loss-prevention efforts are needed."

 

"It would certainly be possible to protect conurbations like New York better from the effects of storm surges," he added, without specifying how.

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