SEBI seeks more time from SC to give views on IPO scam report

Earlier on 28th March, the court had asked SEBI to reply within four weeks whether it would revisit its decision to give a clean chit to NSDL in the scam, which related to share allotment irregularities in various IPOs between 2003 and 2006

New Delhi: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today sought more time from the Supreme Court to give its views on the report of a high-powered committee that probed the initial public offer (IPO) scam of 2006 and National Securities Depository's (NSDL) role in it, reports PTI.

Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, appearing for the market regulator, informed the apex court that the SEBI board is meeting tomorrow and sought more time to present its view on the report.

He further informed the court that the report on the IPO scam is on the agenda of the board meeting.

A bench comprising justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik adjourned the matter for two weeks.

Earlier on 28th March, the court had asked SEBI to reply within four weeks whether it would revisit its decision to give a clean chit to NSDL in the scam, which related to share allotment irregularities in various IPOs between 2003 and 2006.

It had further asked SEBI "to consider whether its board will reconsider the special committee's 4th December order in respect of NSDL and DSQ Securities and to pass an appropriate resolution and place it before this court."

NSDL was given clean chit last year by SEBI when CB Bhave was its chairman. Mr Bhave had recused himself from the SEBI board meeting in February 2010 when NSDL matter was discussed as he had previously headed the depository.

The court had also pulled up the Attorney General for not taking any stand in this matter. It was not satisfied with his reply that the SEBI board has already taken a decision on the report of the committee, which had declared it as "non-est (does not exist)."

The ministry of finance had set up a committee consisting of two SEBI members G Mohan Gopal, now director of National Judicial Academy, and V Leeladhar to look into the scam.

The committee had passed three orders and found that NSDL had failed in its duty. It had also passed remarks against the manner in which SEBI had functioned in the IPO scam.

Earlier, the apex court had expressed concern over SEBI's outright rejection of the report, and had asked the market regulator to give its stand.

It had remarked that as the committee comprised of senior SEBI officials, the report should have been considered by the regulator.

The apex court was also not convinced by the submissions of SEBI that the committee exceeded its limit.

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IOC may raise petrol prices soon

In his first interaction with media after taking over as the chairman of the nation's largest fuel marketing firm, Ranbir Singh Butola said IOC and other state firms had consciously decided not to revise rates of petrol to keep "the environment happy"

New Delhi: State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the nation's largest oil firm, today hinted at an imminent hike in petrol prices, whose rates have not been revised since January in view of elections in states like West Bengal, reports PTI.

"We would do it (increase rate) at the earliest possible," IOC chairman Ranbir Singh Butola told reporters here.

In his first interaction with media after taking over as the chairman of the nation's largest fuel marketing firm, Mr Butola said IOC and other state firms had consciously decided not to revise rates of petrol to keep "the environment happy".

The government had in June last year freed petrol pricing from its control and state-run firms had on as many as seven occasions changed rates in line with international prices before deciding in the second half of January to freeze rates.

"We live in an environment (comprising of the people and the government). If we take certain action, the environment is going to turn against us," he said.

IOC is losing a tad less than Rs7 per litre on petrol currently. After including the local sales tax or VAT, the desired increase in price comes to about Rs7.50 a litre in Delhi.

"In our consideration, we decided to take these losses for sometime," Mr Butola said.

Asked if the petrol price will be revised soon after assembly elections are completed on 10th May, he said a review "will take place soon."

He, however, deflected questions on state firms acting at the behest of the government in not revising petrol prices.

IOC was losing Rs297 crore per day on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at government-controlled rates, he said.

"We are losing Rs18.11 per litre on diesel, Rs28.33 a litre on kerosene and Rs315.86 per 14.2-kg domestic LPG cylinder," he said.

The company, whose debt is growing at Rs5,000-Rs6,000 crore every month on unchanged fuel prices, expects government to compensate it for the losses.

Its debt stood at about Rs53,000 crore at the end of March.

While retail price of petrol is benchmarked at $98 per barrel of international rates, the same for diesel is at $72-$73 equivalent.

The basket of crude oil that India buys averages $120 per barrel currently.

The government had in June last year allowed state-run oil firms to fix the price of petrol but continued to control the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas with a view to control inflation.

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Sterlite Industries Q4 net profit up over 35% at Rs1,925 crore

The company earned Rs4,023.45 crore from its zinc, lead and silver sales together, registering a growth of 61.98% during the quarter, while its revenue from copper sales were up by over 36% at Rs4,815.57 crore

New Delhi: Vedanta Group arm Sterlite Industries today reported 35.05% jump in consolidated net profit at Rs1,925 crore for the quarter ended 31st March, on higher realisations on products like copper, zinc and silver, reports PTI.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs1,425.31 crore during the corresponding quarter of 2009-10.

Sterlite's net sales registered a growth of 39.91% during the January-March quarter last fiscal at Rs10,000.26 crore as compared to Rs7,147.24 crore it had posted during the corresponding quarter of 2009-10, Sterlite said in a filing to Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The company earned Rs4,023.45 crore from its zinc, lead and silver sales together, registering a growth of 61.98% during the quarter, while its revenue from copper sales were up by over 36% at Rs4,815.57 crore, the filing added.

The production of refined zinc and copper during the period rose by 29% each, while lead production jumped by 10%.

The annual net profit of the company surged by 34.69% at Rs5,042.52 crore vis-à-vis a net profit of Rs3,743.74 crore in FY09-10.

Its net sales registered a growth of 23.45% at Rs30,248.06 crore for the fiscal year ended 31st March, as compared to Rs24,500.60 crore of 2009-10.

During the year, Sterlite paid Rs273.53 crore towards termination of purchase and sales agreement, and legal expenses in connection with ASARCO acquisition and Rs56.82 crore under voluntary retirement scheme at a subsidiary engaged in zinc, lead, silver and aluminium operations as exceptional expenses, the filing said.

Meanwhile, Sterile Industries has said that the Supreme Court will hear the matter of closing down the copper smelter facility at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu on Friday.

The unit closure order was given by the Madras High Court last year on grounds of pollution.

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