New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it was willing to hear an application seeking an independent inquiry into the alleged acts of violence by Salwa Judum, a government supported militia, formed for the purpose of combating Left extremism.
The permission was granted when a bench comprising Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan and justice Aftab Alam heard the two public interest litigations regarding Salwa Judum—one filed by Nandini Sundar, professor of the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University, historian and writer Ramchandra Guha and E.A.S Sarma former secretary of the Union government and another by Kartam Joga , Dudhi Joga, both current elected representatives of the Dantewada district council in Chhattisgarh and former legislator Manish Kunjam. The date of the next hearing is 15 April.
RFCL acquires German veterinary care firm
New Delhi: An ICICI Venture Funds Management Co., RFCL Ltd, has acquired Bremer Pharma GmbH, a German veterinary care company for an undisclosed amount. Bremer is the second buyout in the animal healthcare space for Rs300 crore.
RFCL had in January announced it would acquire Chennai-based Alved Pharma and Foods Pvt. Ltd. An official close to chemicals manufacturer RFCL said Bremer had revenues of $10 million (Rs40 crore) in 2006-07. Bremer will give RFCL 803 global registrations across Europe, West Asia, Asia and Africa, according to a RFCL statement.
IFC infrastructure advisory facility set up
New Delhi: The International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group, announced on Monday, the setting up of a $20 million (Rs80 crore) infrastructure advisory facility to help the South Asia region develop bankable infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships, or PPPs. The facility, which is being set up with donations from bilateral and multilateral agencies, will begin operations with an initial $20 million pool, the company said in a press statement. The advisory will work with national, state and municipal level government agencies to help create PPPs in new sectors and increase access to infrastructure services.
Income-tax officials grill Ramoji Rao
Hyderabadi: Income-Tax officials on Monday quizzed media baron Ramoji Rao in connection with alleged irregularities in Margadarsi Financiers owned by him.
Ramoji Rao was summoned to the income tax office at Basheerbagh and questioned for about 25 minutes, persons familiar with the matter in the income tax office said here.
The income tax officers were trying to probe allegations that Margadarshi Financiers had diverted some funds to its sister firm Margadarsi Chit Funds whose managing director Sailaja Kiran is the daughter-in-law of Rao.
The income tax department had also grilled Kiran on 18 March in connection with the case.
Draft rules to streamline brokers’ sales practices
Mumbai: The Securities and Exchange Board of India on Monday issued draft norms to streamline the sales practices of stock brokers. Guidelines suggest traders should avoid speculative activity and ensure clients understand the risks involved in a particular transaction.
The guidelines say the turnover limit given by traders should be proportional to the financial capacity of the clients as disclosed in the ’Know your customer’ norms (KYC).
Relief for passengers using Bangalore airport
New Delhi: Scheduled to open early next month, Bangalore’s new international airport has agreed to spare domestic passengers from additional user charges for the first three months of operation, according to the civil aviation ministry.
The Bangalore International Airport Ltd (Bial) has also agreed to charge international departing passengers an all-inclusive Rs1,070 under development fee (UDF), marginally higher than what is being charged by Hyderabad’s new international airport.
Negotiations between operator Bial and the ministry has been on for sometime now to find a middle path on domestic UDF. A decision on the exact UDF to be charged after the first three months will be announced later and is likely to be based on actual project costs to be submitted by Bial later in the year.
TCS in multimillion dollar ArvinMeritor deal
Mumbai: India’s top software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services Ltd said on Monday it has signed a five-year, multi-million-dollar contract with auto components maker ArvinMeritor Inc. Financial details were not disclosed.
TCS will be a global engineering partner to ArvinMeritor and support product development, including specific lines in the Asia Pacific region, it said in a statement.
TCS will set up a global engineering centre in Pune and, with INCAT, a wholly owned unit of Tata Technologies Ltd, “cater to the global needs of ArvinMeritor with a specific focus on the Asian market”, it said.
“ArvinMeritor will be focusing on the Asia Pacific region where we are experiencing tremendous growth,” said Tom Watson, vice-president of ArvinMeritor’s engineering and technical planning unit for light vehicle systems.
Hindujas denies interest in French firm Valeo
New Delhi: The Mumbai-based trucks-to-real-estate conglomerate Hinduja Group has denied it has any interest in French auto component maker Valeo, as reported in the ‘Business Standard’ newspaper on Monday. “It’s absolute speculation,” said Prabal Banerji, chief financial officer of the Hinduja Group, adding, the group was not talking to any other auto component company for an acquisition. Valeo too denied the development via an emailed statement.
Tata, M&M to invest more in Maharashtra
New Delhi: The country’s largest auto maker by revenue, Tata Motors Ltd, and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), India’s largest maker of utility vehicles, on Monday signed separate memoranda of understanding with the Maharashtra government to increase their investment in the state.
Tata Motors is investing Rs6,000 crore over the next four-five years to increase production capacity and build vehicle testing facilities in its existing factory in Pune, it said in a release. This is part of a previously announced investment plan from last year.
M&M is investing an additional Rs1,500 crore in their upcoming truck and bus plant in Chakan, Pune. This is on top of an already announced Rs2,500 crore investment.
Investments in the auto sector are deregulated, so while auto firms needed to sign agreements with states, the MoUs help them wrangle incentives and tax breaks from the state. Auto sales are starting to taper off from higher lending rates and reduced consumption.
Yamaha’s Ishikawa to join Bajaj Auto
New Delhi: Former managing director of Yamaha Motor Co.’s India unit Tomotaka Ishikawa, is joining Bajaj Auto Ltd, India’s second largest maker of two-wheelers as a full-time advisor from 1 April, the company said in a release. Ishikawa shall lead Bajaj Auto’s interest in big bikes and overseas markets, said Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of the company.
Known as a turnaround specialist, Ishikawa moved to India two years ago to revive the fortunes of Yamaha in India by bringing back its image of a maker of sporty, zippy bikes. He was moved to Japan late last year before he could make a significant dent in the Indian market.
Tata’s Sumantran joins Hinduja Automotive
New Delhi: A former executive director who headed research and development in Tata Motors Ltd, the country’s largest truck maker, V. Sumantran has joined Hinduja Automotive UK as executive vice-chairman. The newly formed company, is a the holding company for the Hinduja family’s stake in companies such as Ashok Leyland Ltd, India’s second largest maker of trucks and buses and Hinduja Foundries Ltd. R. Seshasayee, managing director of Ashok Leyland will join him as another executive vice-chairman, the company said in a release. Prior to Tata Motors, Sumantran worked at General Motors orp. where he was director, advanced engineering for the Saab division.
Hero Honda registers 15% sales growth
New Delhi:Hero Honda Motors Ltd, which makes half the motorcycles sold in the country, said it registered a growth of 15% in two-wheeler sales in March on a 4% cut in excise tax.
The country’s largest two-wheeler maker sold 320,594 units in March, compared with 277, 915 units a year ago.
For the fiscal year, 2007-08, the company’s sales remained flat at around 3.33 million units, reflecting a slowdown in bike sales in India, where lack of finance and higher interest rates are keeping buyers away from the market.
The company said it was able to meet the slowdown by introducing new models, increasing its distribution network and brand building based on cricket and other mass-market entertainment.
Managing director Pawan Munjal told reporters in New Delhi that commodity prices have increased to uncomfortable levels, and that, “we need to keep our options open,” without specifying the options.
Market analyst told to respond to Sebi’s plea
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to stock market analyst Mathew Easow regarding a 2006 order by markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) asking him not to recommend stocks through the print and electronic media while he was selling those stocks.
Mathew Easow is the chairman of financial services firm Mathew Easow Research Securities Ltd and appears on CNBC TV, besides writing for www.moneycontrol.com.
In 2006, a Sebi order held that the alleged act of Easow recommending shares in the capacity of a market analyst and then dealing in the same shares violated the regulator’s Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices Relating to Securities Market Regulations of 2003.
The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) set aside Sebi’s order after Easow appealed. Sebi then approached the apex court seeking permission to appeal against SAT’s order.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice S.H. Kapadia asked Easow to reply as to why Sebi’s plea must not be admitted for its consideration. It also stayed the penalty imposed on Sebi through the SAT order.
Export incentives under DEPB scheme extended
New Delhi: As a major relief to the distressed export sector, government on Monday decided to continue incentives under the exporters’ most preferred duty entitlement pass book (DEPB) scheme, which was to expire on Monday.
While the scheme has been extended by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), its announcement does not give the time frame till when the scheme will remain in force. The DGFT notice said the DEPB will continue “till further amendments” in the scheme.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs, which could not take up the issue at its last meeting, is likely to consider it this week, persons familiar with the matter said. DEPB is the most preferred route through which exporters claim refund of various taxes so that their shipments do not bear the cost of government levies.