In your interest.
Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
The ministry of home affairs and Election Commission of India have been asked by the Delhi High Court on Thursday to respond to a plea for a court-monitored probe by an SIT or the CBI into the funds allegedly received by the Congress and BJP from UK-based Vedanta Resources and some Indian public sector undertakings
The two-member Delhi High Court bench comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indermeet Kaur asked the home ministry and Election Commission of India (ECI) to file their replies in the matter relating to funds, allegedly received by the Congress and BJP from UK-based Vedanta and some domestic PSUs, within two weeks. The next date of the hearing in the matter is set for 4 February 2013. The court further said that it will not call upon the political parties, Congress and BJP, to respond until after hearing the responses of the Home Ministry and ECI.
The PIL was filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India. Moneylife has been following the matter closely since it emerged last August. We have reported how the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Group, which does not give political donations, either in the UK of European Union without board approval, has admitted to paying around $8.3 million to political parties since 2003-04.
It has also emerged that both BJP and Indian National Congress (INC) have themselves declared, in their annual contribution reports submitted to the ECI, that they have received funding from the Vedanta Group, which is listed on London Stock Exchange under the name Vedanta Resources PLC.
Which political parties benefitted from Vedanta’s donations? Read the analysis, by Sucheta Dalal.
EAS Sarma, in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, had also pointed out that as per information compiled by ADR from 2007 to 2009, both BJP and Congress received donations from other companies as well. Nippon Investment and Finance Pvt Ltd, one of the promoters of Videocon Industries, donated Rs1 crore while a Honda group unit gave Rs15 lakh to the BJP as donation. Congress also received Rs2 lakh from State Trading Corporation of India and MMTC, both government undertakings.
The grounds for the PIL are, therefore, as follows:
a) INC and the BJP have violated Section 29B of the Representation of People’s Act 1951, which categorically prohibits them to take donations from government companies and from any foreign source
b) The donation of huge sums of money made by the Vedanta Group (being a foreign company) to major political parties like INC and BJP is in clear violation of the FCR Act of 1976 and the FCR Act of 2010.
c) The donation of huge sums of money by the public sector undertakings (who are also State within Article 12 of the Constitution) to the political parties is in violation of Section 293A of the Companies Act.
The petition also states that UK-based Vedanta Resources and its subsidiary companies in India, such as Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa and Malco “have donated several crores of rupees to major political parties like the Congress and the BJP”.
The plea was listed for 10 January 2013 after justice VK Jain recused himself, without assigning any reason, from hearing the matter which was listed 9 January 2013 before the bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan.
You may also like to read Moneylife’s coverage on: Which companies are funding political parties and how legal is it
Moneylife has filed a complaint with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) against Life Slimming & Cosmetic Clinic (Life Slimming), as it has been using our logo to promote itself, claiming we’ve endorsed their non-surgical liposuction services. This is untrue. Other media houses and large companies have also been named in the advertisement, presumably under the same circumstances.
Hyderabad-based Life Slimming is misleading people by wrongly using the names of several media houses, including Moneylife. The clinic, set up by Life Hospitals, published two full-page ads in The Hindu on 21 December 2012, claiming its services have been “appreciated by press, portals, TC and magazines India wide and worldwide”. A Moneylife reader alerted us to this blatant lie.
Moneylife has never published anything about Life Slimming and its dubious non-surgical liposuction business. However, the clinic has used the Moneylife logo in the ad. While we are flattered that we are in the august company of The Hindu, we have filed a complaint with ASCI about the use of Moneylife logo as a false endorsement. The clinic or its owners neither contacted Moneylife nor have they taken any permission for using our logo for the endorsement.
Life Slimming also uses the names of several well-known companies for its endorsement. It says employees of several large companies like Infosys, Reliance, TCS, Andhra Bank, BHEL, ONGC, SBI, Honda and Mahindra have used its facilities. This may be true, but it is not clear if the bills were paid by the companies or by the employees themselves. This makes all the difference. We doubt any of these companies would pay for cosmetic treatment of their employees. But the clinic has still used the names of corporate houses as endorsements in the ad.
The ad not only uses media names for misleading the readers but also makes false claims. It says, “In just one sitting, lose 20-50% of your body fat”. However, according to Wikipedia, with a single treatment, subjects had a 20% reduction after two months, and 25% reduction at six months, in the fat layer, as assessed by ultrasound. The lipolytic effect of treatment takes place within about two to four months. It is primarily applicable to limited fat bulges.
Life Hospital, which runs the clinic, is managed by one Mrs Pratibha, who is a clinical nutritionist, and Dr Pranaya Sheela, a gynaecologist. One Mr Krishna is the co-founder of the hospital. It also has celebrities like actresses Jaya Prada and Prachi Das endorsing its products.
Non-surgical liposuction is spreading rapidly across the country. It is an alternative to surgical liposuction. The attempt is to melt and liquefy a person's fat cells using non-invasive methods such as ultrasonics, lasers and injections of chemical agents.
Life Slimming uses a trademarked technology Cryolipolysis or CoolSculpting that refers to a medical device used to destroy fat cells. The trademark is owned by Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc. Dr Dieter Manstein and Dr R Rox Anderson at The Wellman Center (Massachusetts General Hospital) developed the concept, explored it in a number of experiments on pigs, and reported their data in 2008. While the process is not fully understood, it appears that fatty tissue that is cooled below body temperature undergoes localized cell death followed by a local inflammatory response that, over the course of several months, results in a reduction of the fatty tissue layer.
Market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India has issued a public notice asking investors not to accept the recommendations of any person claiming to sell financial products on its behalf
Recently, a few media outlets have reported that certain individuals are using the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) name, by claiming to be a SEBI official, to sell financial products to prospective investors. SEBI, in its notice, said, “In this regard, the attention of the public is drawn to the fact that SEBI neither offers any investment advice or recommends any investment products/schemes nor seeks any personal information of investors for this purpose.”
The notice advised that prospective investors ignore such advice from persons purporting to be SEBI officials. The notice said, “If any prospective investor is contacted by any person purporting to be a SEBI official and offering such investment advice or seeking such information, individuals may not entertain such calls and deny him/her such access and verify the details of such purported official from SEBI website.”