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Two Gitanjali officials named in CBI FIR resign
Mumbai, Feb 19: Following the unravelling of the $1.8 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, two senior officials of Gitanjali Gems -- Chandrakant Karkare and Pankhuri Warange --  resigned from the company, according to a regulatory filing with the stock exchanges on Monday.  The names of the two officials were mentioned in the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation on the fraud.   While Karkare cited personal problem as the reason behind resigning from the post of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company, Warange said she, as the Company Secretary and Compliance Officer, had sounded off the management to make certain disclosure about the company, which it did not do. Hence she decided to quit. She said in her resignation letter dated February 13 that her "conscience doesn't permit" her to continue with the current position.  The CBI has arrested Punjab National Bank's retired Deputy Manager, Gokulnath Shetty and two others ...




Nirav fraud: PNB officials took commission to sign LoUs
By Anand SinghNew Delhi, Feb 18: Punjab National Bank officials used to take percentage commissions in lieu of issuing letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit to diamond czar Nirav Modi and his partner Mehul Choksi and their firms, according to the probe into the Rs 11,300 crore banking scam.   The fresh revelation in the banking fraud has come after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned former PNB Deputy Manager Gokulnath Shetty, Single Window Operator Manoj Kharat, and Hemant Bhatt, the authorised signatory of prime accused Nirav Modi's group of companies.  They were arrested on Saturday and have been remanded in police custody till March 3.   According to CBI sources, the arrested bank officials during interrogation disclosed that for every LoU, a percentage of the amount was fixed depending upon the amount to be sanctioned.   The commission collected from the client was then distributed between all employees o...




Punjab National Bank detects $1.8 bn fraud at a Mumbai branch
Mumbai, Feb 14: Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches here, the bank said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges on Wednesday.  "The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance," the filing by the bank said.  It had quoted the quantum of such transactions was to the tune of around $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore).  The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank's net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).  This case has happened at a time when the Indian banking system is already grappling to tackle its swelling non-performing assets.  "Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad. In the bank...




Bombay HC to hear PIL on missing notes between printing press and RBI
By Quaid NajmiMumbai, Feb 11:  A public interest litigation -- probably holding the key to the historic demonetisation of November 8, 2016 -- filed by RTI activist Manoranjan Roy will finally come up for hearing at Bombay High Court here on February 12.   The PIL was filed in 2015, on the basis of RTI replies received from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other institutions, pertaining to large quantities of "missing or excess" Indian currency notes.  Roy said that as per RTI replies, from 2000 to 2011, RBI had received a certain number of currency notes from the three security printing presses in Nashik, Dewas and Mysuru.  The figures provided by the printing presses were: Rs 500 denomination -- 19,45,40,00,000 pieces were sent to RBI, but RBI said it had received only 18,98,46,84,000 pieces: A shortfall of 46,93,16,000 pieces or Rs 23,465 crore.  Similarly, the printing presses said they had sent Rs 1,000 denomination 4,44,13,...




Government admits to cases of fraudulent withdrawal of money through Adhaar
New Delhi, Feb 6:  The government on Tuesday admitted that there had been incidents of money being fraudulently withdrawn from bank accounts using the customers' Aadhaar number.  As per the information, at least six such cases had been reported by four Public Sector Banks so far involving fraud of around Rs 1.5 crore, Parliament was told.   "As per data reported by Public Sector Banks (PSBs), there have been incidents of money being fraudulently withdrawn from bank accounts using the customers' Aadhaar number in a few banks," Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.  He said steps had been taken to prevent such cases and action also initiated against those responsible for the reported cases.  While two cases of fraudulent mapping of Aadhaar numbers were reported in Bank of India involving a sum of Rs 1.37 crore, another two cases surfaced in Syndicate Bank involving Rs 2.26 lakh.&nb...




Government has a lack of clear vision for the country: Muslim body
IndiaTomorrow.net,New Delhi, Feb 3:  A leading Muslim body on Saturday said that the government has a lack of vision for the country and criticised the government for allocating only 3.7 percent and one percent of GDP respectively to education and health and said that the government wants to privatise these sectors."Education and health are a primary responsibility of the government, but it is avoiding it to privatise these sectors,"  Muhammad Salim Engineer, general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, while addressing a press conference in New Delhi, said."This is a wrong trend and we condemn it," he added.Jamaat also said that the government has a lack of vision for the country and does little to help the youth in their education and for the betterment of the middle class.  "The government seems clueless on how it will generate the 13 lakh jobs per month to satisfy the growing numbers seeking employment" a statement from the organisation re...




CBI arrests GST Commissioner, others for graft
New Delhi, Feb 3:  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a Kanpur-based Commissioner of GST and Central Excise and others in a bribery case pertaining to the Excise Department, an official said on Saturday. "Sansar Chand, a 1986 batch IRS Officer posted as Commissioner in GST and Central Excise in Kanpur and three superintendents of the department-- Ajay Srivastava, Aman Shah, Rajeev Singh Chandel were arrested on Friday night," a CBI official told IANS.  Beside the three officials, the CBI also arrested an office staffer named Saurabh Pandey and three others.   The CBI has alleged that Chand and other officials were part of the organised and systematic collection of illegal gratification.   The excise officials contacted various people through middleman Awasthi for extorting illegal gratification.   These payments pertained to either monthly or quarterly payments as protection money for omissio...




With eye on 2019 election, FM announces sops for farmers and common man but targets markets
New Delhi, Feb 1: In his last full budget before general elections in 2019, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax to 10 per cent from zero at present, reduced corporate tax for 99 per cent of the companies to 25 per cent but left the tax structure for individuals largely unchanged.The finance minister's focus was on rural india and agriculture, perhaps with an eye on electoral gains for the ruling party at the centre next year, announcing a number of schemes and incentives. For the Kharif agricultural output, the minister increased the minimum support price to one and half times of production cost, raising institutional farm credit to Rs 11 lakh crore in 2018-19 from Rs 8.5 lakh crore. His speech also focused on education and healthcare. The finance minister indicated a slippage in fiscal deficit for the current year from 3.2 per cent to 3.5 per cent and from 3 per cent to 3.3 per cent (Rs 5.95 lakh crore) of the GDP next year, indicating the governmen...




Financial system fundamentally wrong: Muhammad Yunus
Kolkata, Jan 23: Nobel laureate and micro-finance founder Muhammad Yunus on Tuesday said the existing financial and banking systems in the world have fundamental flaws as they direct people to work only for their own benefit, not caring about society. "I think the existing banking structure is fundamentally wrong. The policy of the banking system is such that the people who have more money will get higher loans. This is the base of any banking system. "Ideally it should have been just the reverse. One who has less should get the loans first," Yunus said on 'Ethics and Economics' at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here. "That's why I feel that even today the very basis of the financial system is wrong. When I tried to trace the reason of this fundamental error, I found it is wrong as the whole economy is based on people's selfishness." Yunus, who inspired the model of social business in Bangladesh, said the seed of selfishness is sown wi...




Market zooms: Sensex at 36K, Nifty50 at 11K
Mumbai, Jan 23: Projection of India's healthy economic growth outlook, along with bullish global cues lifted the key Indian equity indices to their new highs during the early morning trade session on Tuesday. Accordingly, the S&P BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty50 breached their previous respective intra-day high levels.  In the process, the barometer Sensex crossed the 36,000-points-mark and the NSE Nifty50 climbed above 11,000 points. Market analysts pointed-out other factors such as positive Q3 results and buying support in oil and gas, banking, capital goods and consumer durables stocks aided in the key indices' upward trajectory. At 9.50 a.m., the 30-scrip S&P BSE Sensex, which had closed at 35,798.01 points on Monday, traded higher at 36,036.51 points, up by 238.50 points or 0.67 per cent.At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader Nifty50 quoted at 11,039.75 points, up by 73.55 points or 0.67 per cent.(IANS) 




Budget 2018: Opportunity to fulfil housing expectations of millions
The "Housing for All by 2022" mission has set the stage for a robust recovery in the residential property market. In the past two years, we have seen an unprecedented focus on reforms channelised through the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2016, demonetisation, Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. So, this time, the Budget for FY2018-19 will be much more critical than ever. The provisions, if moved in positive directions, will have the power to continue the momentum and cement home buyers' confidence. While so many tough decisions have already been taken, it will be worthwhile to rationalise further the direct tax structures impacting home buyers. I believe that there is room for improvement in some of the prime income tax (IT) provisions meant to incentivise the home buyers. Deduction on home loan interest: The IT Act has provisions under which a home buyer can claim a deduction on home loan interest paid to...




India's wholesale price inflation eases to 3.58% in December
New Delhi, Jan 15: India's annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices eased to 3.58 per cent in December 2017, official data showed here on Monday.According to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the wholesale price index (WPI), with the revised base year of 2011-12, was 3.93 per cent in November 2017.(IANS) 




Farmers protest in UP, throw potatoes outside CM's residence
Lucknow, Jan 6: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh faced an embarrassing situation on Saturday as quintals of potatoes were thrown by the farmers in front of the Vidhan Sabha building and outside Chief Minister's residence.The VIP and high-security zone in front of the state assembly building was strewn with potatoes in the morning.The scene was similar outside Raj Bhawan which houses Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and his family and outside the 5, Kalidas Marg high-security residence of Chief Minister Adityanath.The development sent the district administration and security officials in a tizzy as the act was carried out in high-security zones.Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Lucknow Deepak Kumar said the vehicles of the farmers, who were involved in throwing potatoes have been identified and that they would be acted upon.Farmers, however, said they have not done anything wrong as this was a symbolic protest against the government and its policies.Farmers are angry a...




Bill to protect consumers introduced in Lok Sabha
New Delhi, Jan 5: Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday introduced, in the Lok Sabha, a bill for the establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), an executive agency to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, was introduced after Paswan withdrew an older bill, The Consumer Protection Bill 2015. The bill would amend the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.The CCPA will make interventions when necessary to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products."This fills an institutional void in the regulatory regime extant. Currently, the task of prevention of or acting against unfair trade practices is not vested in any authority. This has been provided for in a manner that the role envisaged for the CCPA complements that of the sector regulators and duplication, overlap or potential conflict is avoided," s...




Vyapam scam: Still in search of the mastermind
By Sundeep PouranikBhopal, Dec 30: This past year was expected to be crucial for moving ahead with the corruption charges involving the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known as Vyapam. The CBI did file two charge-sheets naming a staggering 1,082 accused -- but it is yet to name the mastermind of the entire scam.More importantly, the central investigative agency has given a clean chit to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.It has now been four years since the matter came to light and the CBI has been proving it for the past two years. The scam involved 13 different exams conducted for selecting medical students and state government employees (including food inspectors, transport constables, police personnel, school teachers, dairy supply officers and forest guards) in which the final results were rigged."If the mastermind of the Vyapam corruption is not known, then how are the other accused going to be punished? On the contrary, the ...




LS passes bill on changes in bankruptcy code
New Delhi, Dec 29: The Lok Sabha on Friday passed a Bill that seeks to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to plug potential loopholes and prohibit "certain persons", such as wilful defaulters, from submitting resolution plans to let them take charge of the company.The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed after a reply by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. It will replace an ordinance promulgated earlier.The IBC, being implemented by the Corporate Affairs Ministry, became operational in December 2016 and provides for a time-bound insolvency resolution process.The changes proposed are expected to help streamline the process of selecting buyers for stressed assets.For instance, currently the Code does not specify the type of buyers who can bid for stressed assets of companies that are undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.The Bill seeks to facilitate phased implementation of the provisions of the code to incorporate persons, individuals and partne...




BJP MP says elderly not getting pension due to Aadhaar link since last one year
New Delhi, Dec 29: Thousands of elderly persons whose biometrics do not match their records anymore are facing trouble in getting their pension as well as getting any other Aadhaar-linked work done, a BJP member of the Lok Sabha said on Friday.Bihar MP from Aurangabad Sushil Kumar Singh also mentioned the fraud where LPG subsidy belonging to different people worth Rs 190 crore was transferred in the account of telecom company Airtel, and demanded criminal action against the culprits."Old people are unable to get pensions since last one year as their thumb prints and retina scan do not match," Singh said.He also said that his mother could not get a sim card in her own name due to problem in matching of fingerprints.Mentioning the Airtel incident, he said: "It is a criminal act that someone's money is being transferred to other accounts without permission. Though the Petroleum Ministry has taken action, but there should be criminal proceedings against the culprits."Th...




LS passes bill extending deadline for protection of unauthorised Delhi colonies
New Delhi, Dec 28: A bill to extend the deadline of a law to protect slums and unauthorised colonies in the national capital till 2020 was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri urging officials governing the city to assume a more responsible role.The Bill was passed amid protest by Congress members over controversial remarks by Union Minister Anant Hegde that the ruling BJP was "here to change the Constitution" and also demands by the TRS members for a separate High Court for Telangana.The Bill will extend the validity of the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011 for three years from January 1, 2018 -- the current deadline for relocation and rehabilitation of slums and other unauthorised colonies in Delhi.Puri said the Bill provides protection against punitive action on a number of categories and unless it was passed, "Delhi will witness unprecedented chaos"."Some...




Water use beyond 20,000 litres to cost 20% more in Delhi
New Delhi, Dec 26: The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Tuesday announced a 20 per cent increase in combined water and sewer tariff in the city for those consuming water beyond 20,000 litres per month.Jal Board Vice Chairman Dinesh Mohaniya told a press conference that the 135th board meeting on Tuesday decided this "marginal" combined water-sewer price hike, which would come into force from February 1."This decision has been taken keeping in view the expenditure incurred due to implementation of Seventh Pay Commission and GST (Goods & Services Tax)," he said.He further said that in the past, the DJB had been following the practice of hiking water charges by 10 per cent every year."The last such hike was in January 2015. There was no hike in 2016 and 2017. "This hike is for the year 2018 -- only hike in the past three years (2016, 2017 and 2018)," he noted.Explaining the new water rates, Mohaniya said: "Consuming 23,000 litres of water per month earl...




Reliance to be amongst the top 20 companies in the world: Mukesh Ambani
Navi Mumbai, Dec 23: On Reliance Industries Ltd's 40th anniversary (1977-2017), Chairman Mukesh Ambani said the company which owed all its progress to its founder Dhirubhai Ambani has the potential to be amongst the top 20 global companies in the world. "Today, Reliance is a global leader in energy and materials, where operating safely is an obsession and with Jio and retail -- where we have established a leadership position in India -- we are customer obsessed," Ambani said during his address to employees on "Reliance family day". "As we enter our golden decade, we at Reliance are in a unique position to accomplish what very few companies in the world can even dream of," he said before asking: "Can Reliance be amongst the top 20 companies in the world?" To which the gathering replied in a chorus, as Amabani said: "Yes we can, and yes we will."  His address was conveyed to employees and their families on social ...




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