SEZ documents can't be kept secret in public interest case: HC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has held that documents pertaining to the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) cannot be kept confidential and would have to be shared with people when public interest is involved, reports PTI.

The ruling was delivered yesterday by a bench, headed by Justice B H Marlapalle, which disposed of a petition filed by SKIL Infra, which has joined hands with development authority CIDCO to set up Navi Mumbai SEZ.

SKIL Infra had challenged RTI commissioner's order asking CIDCO to provide documents to a Navi Mumbai resident regarding development of Navi Mumbai SEZ Pvt Ltd.

SKIL said its joint venture agreement with CIDCO has a clause that documents pertaining to the project would be kept confidential.

The court, however, ruled that in a case where public interest is involved such a clause of confidentiality would not be applicable, and documents would have to be made public.

Sanjay Surve, the Navi Mumbai resident, had sought some information from CIDCO on the development of Navi Mumbai SEZ.

He asked for 24 documents but was given only 15 and his plea for the remaining was rejected.

Mr Surve appealed to the managing director of CIDCO against his organisation's refusal to provide the remaining documents.

CIDCO MD gave him one more document and rejected his plea for eight others.

Mr Surve then applied to Information Commissioner of RTI seeking an order to CIDCO to provide the remaining eight documents. The RTI Commissioner asked CIDCO to provide the documents. SKIL challenged this order in the high court.


Curbing tech piracy can stimulate Asian economies: Report

Singapore: Asian economies led by China can reap a financial windfall and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in a few years by cracking down on software piracy, reports PTI quoting an industry study.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) and research group IDC said nearly 60% of the software programmes installed on personal computers in 2009 across the world's largest region were unlicensed.

Reducing software piracy to about 50% in four years would produce almost 41 billion dollars in economic activity, create 350,000 new jobs and generate nearly nine billion dollars in taxes, according to the joint study.

Achieving the same reduction in two years would boost the economic benefits for the region by another 33%, a press statement said.

Worldwide, a cut in piracy rates from the current 42% to 32% over four years would add $142 billion to the global economy, 500,000 new jobs and $32 billion in tax revenues, the study said.

Roland Chan, BSA's senior regional director for marketing, said the Asia-Pacific region will capture "more than three fifths" of the new jobs forecast be generated globally because of the size of the market.

"Reducing software piracy is an opportunity to inject much-needed stimulus into Asia Pacific economies," he said.


Vedanta open offer for Cairn India yet to get SEBI nod

Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has not yet approved the open offer made by the Vedanta Group to Cairn India shareholders, even as the target company formed a two-member panel to look into the offer made to minority shareholders, reports PTI.

Billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Group is buying Cairn Energy Plc's 40%-51% stake in Cairn India and has made an open offer for an additional 20% stake - which will take the deal size to up to $9.6 billion.

"SEBI will look at the financials of the transaction and will decide on the open offer price," Cairn Energy Plc CEO and Cairn India chairman Bill Gammell told reporters after the AGM of Cairn India.

Mr Gammell said: "We will seek all necessary approvals from the government" and said that Cairn India's skill-sets are its people and the company will retain the management structure even after the change of ownership.

"This is a corporate transaction involving change of shares at the corporate level. Cairn India is about its people and the knowledge resides in these people and not in Cairn Energy Plc," he said when asked if Vedanta's lack of experience in oil business may become a stumbling block to obtain regulator approvals.

Vedanta is paying Rs405 per share to Cairn Energy, including a non-compete fee of Rs50 per share, while it has made an open offer to Cairn India shareholders at Rs355 (offer price minus non-compete fee). The open offer will start on 11th October.

Cairn India CEO Rahul Dhir said the transfer of shares does not affect the operations of Cairn India and the company would continue to do business as usual.

Mr Gammell refused to comment on Vedanta's offer price, saying it is for Vedanta to decide.

"The matter is with SEBI. They have not yet decided," he said.

Meanwhile, Cairn India has formed a committee of two independent directors - Omkar Goswami and Ed Story - to look into issues of minority shareholders.

Mr Goswami said: "We are looking at various matters of transactions. One of the matter is difference between offer made to minority shareholders and that extended to the Cairn Energy Plc.

"We did ask the chairman of Cairn India whether the difference can be eliminated...under section 20(8) of SEBI Takeover Code up to 25% premium can be given as non-compete fee. This Rs50 is only 14% of the offer size so that is no clear legal deviation.




6 years ago

I filed a complaint with SEBI on the 16th August 2010 against the non compete fee, I received a response from the lead manager(JM Financial Pvt Ltd) of the ensuing open offer and I believe I have a decent case to counter the arguments put forward by JMFinancials. I am taking the liberty of attaching the Letter I received from JM Financial and also my response to the same for your kind attention.

My purpose of this email is to ask for your help in bringing the letter and my response to the attention of your members, you being a recognised investor association you would have access to members who may be unhappy like me with the price being offered. I would greatly appreciate it if you could request every member in your organisation who may be interested to contest the matter, to please copy my response with minor modifications and email the same to SEBI to exert pressure, in the process ensuring that SEBI and SAT takes a rationale desicion in accordance with the principles enshrined in SEBI'S preamble.

Thanking you in anticipation of your help.

Kind Regards

K. Prashant

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