Coal import case: SC notice to Adani Group on DRI's appeal
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to Adani Enterprises on an appeal by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in a matter connected with the alleged over-invoicing of Indonesian coal imports.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde stayed the Bombay High Court order that quashed letter rogatories (LR) which sought information from foreign countries on the import of coal by Adani. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for DRI contended before the apex court that the investigation into the matter should continue. The DRI is probing nearly 40 companies for overvaluation of imports.
 
A letter rogatory is usually sent by a country to another country to seek assistance with help of foreign judicial authorities to investigate an offshore entity, which is believed to have a connection with an ongoing probe.
 
The Bombay High Court in October last year quashed all the LRs sent by DRI to Singapore and other countries in its probe on Adani group firms for allegedly over-invoicing the coal imported from Indonesia between 2011 and 2015.
 
The High Court observed that it did not go into the merits of the LR issued by the magistrate, but found the due process was not undertaken while issuing these letters.
 
The DRI vehemently opposed the High Court order and sought its stay as the investigation is underway. In September last year, Adani Enterprises Limited moved the High Court seeking quashing of the LRs which were issued in 2016.
 
The DRI in March 2016 initiated investigation against a few Adani group firms for allegedly over-invoicing coal imports from Indonesia. The LRs were issued to Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong, seeking assistance in accessing documents in possession of three state-owned banks in connection with the transactions under investigation.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Top Internet players ask India to be transparent on intermediary rules
    Global Internet companies on Tuesday said they have sent an open letter to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, calling the government for improved transparency related to intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules and allay fears like tilting the playing field in favour of large players, substantially increase surveillance and prompting a fragmentation of the Internet in India that would harm users.
     
    The Indian government has proposed changes to its intermediary rules that would require the intermediary to inform its users at least once every month, that in case of noncompliance with rules and regulations, the intermediary has the right to immediately terminate the access or usage rights of the users to the computer resource of Intermediary and remove noncompliant information. 
     
    "When required by lawful order, the intermediary shall, within 72 hours of communication, provide such information or assistance as asked for by any government agency or assistance concerning security of the State or cyber security," said the proposed intermediary rules.
     
    In the open letter, leading browser and software development platform like Mozilla, Microsoft-owned GitHub and Cloudflare called for improved transparency by allowing the public an opportunity to see a final version of these amendments prior to their enactment.
     
    "On behalf of a group of global internet organisations with millions of users in India, we are writing to urge you to ensure the planned amendments to India's intermediary liability regime allow for the internet to remain an open, competitive, and empowering space for Indians," the companies said. 
     
    According to them, the last version of these amendments which were available in the public domain suggest that the rules will promote automated censorship.
     
    "The current safe harbour liability protections have been fundamental to the growth of the internet in India. They have enabled hosting platforms to innovate and flourish without fear that they would be crushed by a failure to police every action of their users," wrote the global Internet giants.
     
    The Indian government is likely to submit the final draft to the Supreme Court by January 15. 
     
    The global Internet players appealed the government to share a final version before the submission to the Supreme Court.
     
    "Imposing the obligations proposed in these new rules would place a tremendous, and in many cases fatal, burden on many online intermediaries - especially new organizations and companies. A new community or a startup would be significantly challenged by the need to build expensive filtering infrastructure and hire an army of lawyers," the companies stressed.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Relax aviation ownership, control rules to attract more FDI: Whitepaper
    To attract greater foreign capital into the country's aviation sector, the Centre should consider to ease the ownership and control rules of the industry, a whitepaper on the steps required to prop-up the sector said.
     
    The paper said the move to ease regulatory norms and enhance FDI limit will give access to "much-needed cheaper funds to the sector". 
     
    At present, the Substantial Ownership and Effective Control (SOEC) clause bars any foreign investor from taking complete control of an airline, run by a board that has two-third members as Indians.
     
    Incidentally, in the last Budget speech in July 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the government proposed to hike the FDI limit in domestic air carriers from the current 49 per cent.
     
    As of now, 100 per cent FDI is allowed under automatic route for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul), ground handling and aircraft purchase.
     
    "This would provide much-needed cheaper funds to the sector, a large part of which is in need of an infusion of funds. Even the national carrier Air India is surviving on bail-outs by the government," the paper said.
     
    Currently, the sector is in a grip of heavy debt burden and accumulating losses, despite the fact that passenger traffic has grown phenomenally over the last decade.
     
    "The way out of this would be to encourage greater foreign investment into the sector by easing the FDI inflow norms in the sector, and help build up a strong aviation financing centre, dedicated for financing only to the aviation sector.
     
    "This will not only ease the debt-ridden sector, but with it would come the best management practices and improved technologies which are being deployed worldwide," the paper said.
     
    In terms of sub-sectors, the paper pointed out 'Air Cargo' as the hidden treasure of the industry.
     
    As per the whitepaper, prospects of air cargo business in India are promising due to the rise of trade in sensitive perishable items. A number of sectors such as pharmaceuticals and e-commerce depend on this sub-sector.
     
    "Dedicated cargo terminals, cargo processing facilities and associated facilities can be set up to international levels by framing a supportive policy which will attract private investment in keeping with the expected growth in cargo volume in the country," the paper said.
     
    In addition, it called for fast paced infrastructure creation of airport capacity, ATCs, as well as training academies associated with the sector to meet the growing traffic demand.
     
    "The PPP model has worked very well in many infrastructure sectors like airports, toll roads etc. There is no reason why it cannot be deployed in larger measure to all areas in this sector," the paper said.
     
    "Development of associated infrastructure and approach roads, warehouses etc. are all prime candidates for deploying the PPP model in a large way. A fresh policy in this area would work well," it said. 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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