The board of directors of CEBBCO took one whole month to accept Ajay Gupta’s and another director, Akhil Awasthi, resignation. What took it so long?
In a new twist to the tale to the Commercial Engineers & Body Builders Co (CEBBCO) saga, the company has released a startling notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The contents of the notice finally confirm what we had written earlier: Ajay Gupta has indeed quit. What is puzzling is why was this not disclosed earlier or considered by the board? The fact that it was considered and disclosed by the board of directors a month later speaks volumes about the lax regulations and ethics. What the company’s promoters, key shareholders and members of the board did in this interim is anyone’s guess. In fact, we had written “What Is Really Going On in CEBBCO?”, where we asked whether Ajay Gupta had quit, based on a reader’s experience with the company.
A Moneylife reader actually called up CEBBCO’s office last month only to find out that Ajay Gupta had mysteriously quit. But there was no notice on the BSE on this regard. The public relations firm, Dickenson-Seagul, was no longer handling CEBBCO’s account. Even the company’s in-house public relations department did not answer the call.
The letter to BSE, released on 25th April, states: “The board considered the resignation letter dated 26 March 2013 of Mr Ajay Gupta, whole time executive director of the company, who was solely responsible for managing the corporate and financial affairs of the company for couple of years and after due deliberation decided to keep it in abeyance till the formalities relating to handing over charge to an appropriate person and a status report of the projects exclusively managed by him.”
That’s a one month’s gap to consider the resignation! What took the board so long to consider when it should have been an immediate concern? As of now, it would seem that Ajay Gupta is still in charge until someone takes over. But more than this, what is going on what the company? Deepak Towary has been appointed chief executive officer by the board.
What happened in the one month interim is anyone’s guess. All this while, shareholders of the company were scratching their heads as to why their company’s share price was tanking and eroding their networth since beginning of the year? Earlier when we had written a piece about CEBBCO’s share price tanking 35% in two days, Ajay Gupta had denied that anything was wrong with the company (Our pledged shares not being sold in market: Ajay Gupta, Cebbco). Earlier last year, Enam and several brokers had heavily recommended the stock.
In the same letter to the BSE, it is learnt that Akhil Awasthi, a nominee director of Tata Capital Growth Fund had also resigned, but much earlier than Ajay Gupta, on 18 March 2013. His resignation was accepted only on 25 April 2013! As of 31 March 2013, Tata Capital Growth Fund holds 60,05,401 shares, or 10.93% of CEBBCO. Was there a feud between Ajay Gupta and Akhil Awasthi?
More pertinently, a new internal auditory has bee appointed to “strengthen the system and processes” in the company. The statement released to the BSE states: “The board appointed M/s TMG & Associated, Chartered Accountants, Mumbai as new internal auditor of the company in place of M/s Sameer Jain & Associates to strengthen the system and processes in the company as the company has grown manifold in terms of sales and number of manufacturing locations during last couple of years.”
The board of directors of CEBBCO has also reconstituted a remuneration committee which includes Sudhir Vadehra, SP Shah and Ravi Gupta.
The Italian government had raised objection over the case being handed by the National Investigation Agency, saying that the agency has no jurisdiction and pleaded that the case be probed by CBI
The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the case against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen and asked the special court to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis after the charge-sheet is filed.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir clarified that the special court, set up by the Centre for this case, will not take up any other matter and complete the trial as soon as possible.
The bench also comprising Justices AR Dave and Vikramajit Sen said that the two marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone will remain in the custody of the apex court till the completion of the trial.
The Italian government had raised objection over the case being handed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), saying that the agency has no jurisdiction and pleaded that the case be probed by CBI.
The Italian government had approached the apex court, saying that the charges which have been slapped on the marines are not covered by the NIA Act.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Italian government, had submitted that NIA can probe the case only if charges under Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002, are also slapped against the marines and the same cannot be done in view of apex court verdict to prosecute them only under IPC, CrPC, Maritime Zones Act and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The two marines were on board Italian vessel “Enrica Lexie” when they had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on 15th February last year.
India will not command respect if we keep towing the line of least resistance. It is time to put up a firm stand on these matters and consider an embargo on trade until such time China realizes that it can not fool us all the time
India is planning to extend a red carpet (how appropriate!) treatment to the new Chinese Premier, Li Kiqiang, when he arrives next month for a summit meeting with his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh. It is his first overseas trip, and Li Kiqiang will attempt to show how serious and sincere China is in dealing with India. He will emphasise the great importance it attaches to this relationship, at least outwardly!
There have been reports of consultation between the giant neighbours on counter-terrorism and the first ever dialogue on Afghanistan.
Across the eastern Ladakh border, however, Chinese troops have moved some 10 km inside the Indian territory and both sides are facing each other at the Line of Actual Control. Fortunately, no clash has taken place so far, and no injury or death reported, on either side. Flag meetings are said to be in progress.
Apparently, their move was met with no resistance, and Indians were taken by surprise. This unexpected move by the People's Liberation Army and the flag meetings are expected to produce the stale result of both sides claiming for “status quo”, as the perception of Line of Actual Control would differ.
On the TV news channels, however, it was reported that the Chinese have demanded that Indian troops to dismantle the structures built by them (how long ago, we do not know) as a precondition for talks to resolve the issue amicably!
Foreign ministries on either side are in touch to ensure that this border incursion does not dampen the ensuing visit of the Chinese premier and want to play it down.
In the last few years, ever since the Chinese became a financial super-power house, it has relentlessly attempted to expand its overseas activities, in all fields. Without declaring a war it is at loggerheads with its ASEAN neighbours. It has its navy patrolling the South China and Japanese Seas and has threatened everyone on the Spartleys Island, where it is involved in some construction activities. Other claimants, whether it is the Philippines, Indonesia Malaysia and others have not been able to do anything.
Japan, though has the US support, does not feel as safe as it was before. And China is obviously using its proxy of North Korea to threaten South Korea. It is also eyeing at the possibility of entering Afghanistan when US troops are withdrawn. This is more likely to be a move engineered by Pakistan which is averse to Indian influence in that country.
It must be borne in mind that China is already building an all-weather port in Baluchistan and is fully entrenched in Myanmar. The Chinese expansion policy is slowly, but firmly, enlarging in our neighbourhood, ably and silently supported by Pakistan.
All these are not new. We watch these moves every day but remain silent spectators. Should we continue to call Chini-Hindi bhai-bhai or has the time come for boldly saying Hindi-Chini-bye-bye?
According to Oxford English dictionary, Chinese Checkers is a game for two to six players, who try to move the playing pieces from one corner to the opposite corner of the board, which is shaped like a Star. In a similar version, the board is identical to a chess board, where, the coins (similar to carrom coins), are moved, jumping over the opponent's, when he/she leaves an empty square! This is precisely what the Chinese are up to in their political games. Just look up for the other players involved...
Chinese influence in Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and attempts to break-through in Afghanistan with financial assistance are increasing. It made inroads in Nepal and possibly considers Bhutan as a harmless spectator.
Yes, trade with China, or for that matter, with any country is welcome and necessary for survival. But it is absolutely foolish to encourage and expand trade with China and make large investments there, at the cost of Indian industry.
India will not command respect if we keep towing the line of least resistance. It is time to put up a firm stand on these matters and consider an embargo on trade until such time China realizes that it can not fool us all the time.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)