The Mint Report for 27 January 2011

The Mint Report for 27 January 2011

The Supreme Court’s tussled with the government on Thursday over both black money and India’s chief vigilance commissioner. The court demanded the government to investigate overseas accounts in which many Indians are believed to have hidden money. It also asked authorities to detail what they had done to deal with organizations or people with such accounts.

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Meanwhile, the court also heard out the government on the controversial appointment of chief vigilance commissioner P.J. Thomas. On Thursday the government indicated that a selection panel headed by Manmohan Singh did not know about a previous chargesheet against Thomas. That admission is expected to prove costly for UPA, already fending off a string of corruption charges.

On the economy, India’s food inflation is on the rise again. The food price index climbed 15.57% in the period to15 January. That’s compared to 15.52% in the week before. Food prices had started to ease briefly before the latest spike. But a more sustained drop is expected in March once winter crops are harvested.

Switching to corporate news, HDFC Bank has beaten expectations for the third quarter. It says net profit shot up 33% to Rs1,088 crore in the period to December. Net interest income meanwhile climbed 25% to Rs2,777 crore. And the bank’s net interest margin stood at 4.2%. HDFC Bank joins other top lenders in reporting better than expected third quarter numbers. But banks also expect to increase their interest rates in the coming months to keep up with the RBI’s tightening monetary policy. Shares of HDFC Bank fell 1.67% to 2052.15 on the BSE.