Supreme Court refuses to stay charge-framing against CK Jaffer Sharief

Earlier, rejecting the CBI closure report, both the trial court and HC directed to proceed with Mr Sharief's prosecution for his culpability in taking along four persons with him to London during his tenure as minister

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the framing of charges against former Union Minister C K Jaffer Sharief by a special CBI Court in connection with a 1995 corruption case, reports PTI.

A bench of justices P Sathasivama and J Chelameswar, while refusing to stay the lower court procedure after which the formal trial of an accused begins, posted Mr Sharief's appeal for further hearing to 4th July.

Appearing for Mr Sharief, senior counsel Rajiv Dutta, in his brief submission, sought his discharge, claiming that he was innocent and no prior sanction was obtained by the CBI from the government to prosecute him, as mandated by section 197 of the CrPC for prosecution of a public servant.

The case dated back to 1995 when Mr Sharief, as an Union minister had gone to London for medical treatment allegedly taking four others on the trip unauthorisedly and causing a loss of Rs7 lakh to the ex-chequer.

Mr Sharief has come to the apex court against an April 2011 order of the Delhi High Court, dismissing his plea challenging a trial court's decision to reject a CBI closure report in the corruption case against him and prosecute him instead.

Rejecting the CBI closure report, the trial court had proceeded with Mr Sharief's prosecution for his culpability in unauthorisedly taking along with him four persons to London during his tenure as minister.

The CBI had filed the closure report in the case for want of official sanction to prosecute him, but the trial court had proceeded against him despite that.

The High Court had rejected Mr Sharief's plea saying his act did not require sanction under the CrPC to try him for offences under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
It was alleged that during 1995, while functioning as the Railways Minister, Mr Sharief arranged foreign visits of four persons, besides the officials allowed by the government, for his personal use.

An FIR was registered against Mr Sharief in 1998 by the CBI, however, in 2005, the agency filed a closure report citing refusal of sanction.

The lower court, however, had rejected the closure report saying it appeared that the entire material collected by the prosecution had not been placed before sanctioning authority.

The CBI again filed a closure report. However, the special judge declined the CBI request and took cognisance of the offence under PC Act.

Mr Sharief is accused of 'dishonestly' ensuring journey of BN Nagesh, his additional private secretary, SM Masthan and V Muralidharn, both steno and CH Samaullah, a driver, to London with him.


Mukherjee's remark leads to adjournment of Lok Sabha

Amid cries of 'shame, shame' by the opposition members, Yashwant Sinha alleged that the son of the former Finance Minister Chidambaram got a 5% shares from Maxis

New Delhi: An angry remark by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the midst of uproar over a spate of issues, including demand for jute bags for wheat, led to adjournment of the Lok Sabha for over an hour on Thursday afternoon, reports PTI.

As BJP members stormed the Well to press their demand for availability of jute bags, an agitated Mr Mukherjee tried to respond, but when they continued with the protest he made a certain remark angering the entire BJP.

AIADMK members too trooped into the Well seeking to have a say in the Aircel-Maxis deal that took place in 2006. The issue was raised by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha targeting the then Finance Minister, alleging that his son was involved. Home Minister P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister at that time.

Amid cries of 'shame, shame' by the opposition members, Mr Sinha alleged that the son of the former Finance Minister got a 5% shares from Maxis.

"Prima facie what happened was a big scam and government should not hush it up," Mr Sinha said, demanding a statement from Mr Mukherjee, who is the Leader of the House, as also the Finance Minister.

A few minutes later, BJP members, especially those from Madhya Pradesh, stormed the Well to press for their demand for jute bags for wheat. They returned to their seats when Mr Mukherjee tried to placate them with a response. He, however, appeared visibly angry saying they have raised the issue for the second consecutive day.

Some remarks from him worsened the situation with agitated BJP members rushing back into the Well and the Speaker adjourning the House till 2 pm amid sharp reaction from the Opposition.

AIADMK members, wanting to speak on the Aircel-Maxis deal, too stormed the Well when Ms Kumar, the Speaker, adjourned the House.

Earlier, when they wanted to have their say, the Speaker moved to another issue with Bishnupad Ray of the BJP narrating the mistreatment meted out to him by a Home Ministry official yesterday when he had gone to meet him on a matter concerning his constituency of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

This led to sharp protests from the BJP and some other sections of the House.

Responding quickly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government views very seriously any mistreatment of any member. He said he is personally taking the matter to the Home Minister.

When the BJP members continued to press for their demand, Speaker Meira Kumar observed that she was already seized of the matter and had initiated appropriate action on it before the House met for the day.

"My responsibility is not just to run the House but also to uphold the respect and ensure safety of the members. We have to ensure that this does not happen again," she said.


Car insurance: “Higher loss ratio is in diesel car segment”

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority recently raised third-party motor premium, which is still under tariff. KN Murali, senior vice president & head – Motor vertical, Bharti AXA General Insurance talks about impact of IRDA changes

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) recently raised third-party (TP) motor premium, which is still under tariff. The increase may not be sufficient considering huge losses with third-party motor pool. Another change made by the regulator was to dismantle the third-party motor pool which will mean that insurance companies will have to manage the risk without passing the losses to the pool. Will it put pressure on increasing the premium of 'Own Damage' motor insurance as well? KN Murali, senior vice president and head-Motor vertical, Bharti AXA General Insurance talks about impact of IRDA changes.

Money Life (ML): Third-party (TP) premium, which is under tariff, has not been raised enough to cover the losses. Will it put pressure on 'Own Damage' (OD) premium?

KN Murali (KNM): In case of private cars, TP premium has gone up between 4% and 6% from April 2012. In the private car portfolio, TP losses are hovering around 90%.  Though the average increase by 5% may not be fully adequate, the overall private car book is profitable. We do not foresee any reason to push up the price on OD section for the inadequate premium increase in TP portion. In the case of commercial motor segment, OD premium can move up on account of inadequate increase in TP risks.

Inflation can push up premium for OD section. Repair costs and cost of spare parts have been increasing. Depreciation of the rupee against dollar/yen has increased the cost of spare parts in cases where the spare part is imported. Loss ratio varies between vehicles that use petrol and diesel as fuel. A higher loss ratio is seen in diesel segments.  

ML: How much will overall premium increase?

KNM: Each of the insurers does a pricing correction in the private car portfolio based on their loss ratio and mix (geography, manufacturer make/model). The northern part of India may witness a higher increase. Unprofitable make/models may suffer higher increase in premium.

ML: Why have insurers not increased OD premium in the past? Was it because of common third-party pool to absorb the losses and hence insurers did not feel the onus?

KNM: Pricing correction in the private car segment has been happening in the past as well by insurers depending on their book and their loss experience.  It is not that insurers have not increased pricing on OD section earlier.  

Further, TP pool losses were passed on to all the insurers based on 'overall' market share. Few insurers were focusing only on motor, thereby drawing subsidy from other insurers on TP pool losses. With the pool dismantled, every insurer has to protect their book and have to appropriately price their book.   

ML: What is the impact of dismantled third-party motor pool?

KNM: IRDA has directed the insurers to provide a reserve at 145% on the TP risks in commercial motor for the year 2011-12. Each of the insurers has been ascertaining their liability based on actuarial valuation. Actuaries of the regulator would do the checking of the statements of individual insurers and sign off. As of now, the work is in progress and we will not be able to give the actual impact.

ML: Will most of the commercial vehicle third-party underwriting go towards Declined Risks pool as insurers may be averse for providing insurance?

KNM: Insurers are given a minimum quota of standalone TP policies that they have to write in their books. If the quota is not met, Declined Risks pool will allocate business back to insurers to the extent of shortfall. We do not expect insurers to avoid risks; it is also mandated that no insurer can deny standalone TP risk.  Customers should not have any issue in getting the cover freely.


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