Bihar Shelter Home Case: SC Summons Nageswara Rao, Criticises CBI For Transfer Of Probe Officer

In the Bihar shelter home case, the Supreme Court strongly criticised CBI for transferring AK Sharma, former joint director of CBI. Sharma was probing into the case. The Court asked former interim CBI director M Nageswara Rao to appear before the court on Tuesday, February 12. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took serious note of violation of two earlier orders of the apex court and issued contempt notice to Rao for transferring Sharma to the CRPF on January 17 without taking prior permission from the court.

The bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, directed CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla to give the names of officers who were part of the process in transferring Sharma out of the probe agency.

The court said it will initiate contempt proceedings against all CBI officials who were involved in transferring Sharma. 

The top court referred to its earlier orders in which it had asked CBI not to remove Sharma from the team probing Bihar shelter home cases. 

“We are going to take it very very seriously. You played with our order. God help you,” SC said when CBI counsel informed the court that two officials, including Nageswara Rao, were involved in transferring the officer. 

SC also directed Bashu Ram, who is in charge of Director Prosecution in CBI, to appear before it. 

Earlier today, the court came down heavily on the Bihar government and ordered the case to be shunted out of Bihar to Delhi for “a free and fair trial”.

In Kolkata Police vs CBI Issue, Five Cops Who Joined Protest To Lose Medals: Sources

A disciplinary action against the five police officers who joined Mamta Banerjee in the protest against CBI in Kolkata is likely to be initiated by the West Bengal government on orders of  Ministry of Home Affairs, sources said. The orders are also to take their medals off in accordance woth the All India Services Rules. 

The Union government may also remove the names of the officers from an empanelled list and bar them from serving at the central level for a certain period of time.

Sources identified the officers as West Bengal Director General Of Police Virendra, Additional Director General of Police Vineet Kumar Goyal, Additional general of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma, Commissioner of Police (Bidhanagar Commissionerate) Gyanwant Singh, and Additional Commissioner of Police (Kolkata) Supratim Darkaar. Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said the police officers — who are supposed to remain neutral — had taken a political stand by participating in the protest.

Although the Bengal government is not duty-bound to follow the order, this will only serve to further escalate friction between the state and the centre.

West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee had launched a sit-in protest on February 4 against the CBI’s attempts to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams. She called it off her on Tuesday evening, after the Supreme Court forbade the CBI from taking any coercive action against the police officer, categorically stating that the he was not part of the agitation.

Earlier, the centre had reportedly sought action against the Kolkata Police Commissioner for indulging in indisciplined behaviour and violating the All India Services (Conduct) Rules. However, Ms Banerjee claimed  that she received no such request from Delhi.

The Kolkata police chief is in the middle of a massive showdown between the CBI and Ms Banerjee, who has vehemently challenged the probe agency’s right to turn up at Mr Kumar’s door to question him on “missing evidence” in the chit fund cases on Sunday evening. The incident ended with several CBI officials being detained by the state police.

The central agency told the Supreme Court that Rajeev Kumar’s probe in the cases “shielded guilty companies” and there was “inaction, selective action and a nexus” between the police and the accused companies. The evidence handed over by the team “is not complete and was doctored”, the CBI added in its affidavit — listing allegations against the Kolkata police chief.

Tata Motors Suffers A Loss Of ₹26,961 Crores in Q3 FY18– 19

Auto giant Tata Motors on Thursday said it has suffered a tremendous loss of ₹26,961 crores for the December quarter. It said that it took exceptional, one- time non- cash charge for impairment of asset of over 3.1 billion pounds. 

The auto firm had posted a profit of Rs 1,214.60 crore in the year-ago period.

Consolidated revenue for the quarter under review rose 5 per cent YoY to Rs 77,001 crore.

In a filing to the BSE, the automaker said its performance was impacted by challenging market conditions particularly in China and inventory corrections.

The company added that it was taking decisive actions to make the business ‘Fit for Future’ by stepping up competitiveness, reducing costs and improving cash flows.

“We are announcing a non-cash exceptional charge to reduce the book value of our capitalised investments. This accounting adjustment is consistent with the other decisive actions that we must take as part of our ‘Charge’ and Accelerate transformation programmes to create an efficient and resilient business, enabling Jaguar Land Rover to counter the multiple economic, geopolitical, technological and regulatory headwinds presently impacting the automotive industry. We are taking the right decisions now to prepare the company for the new technologies and strong product offensive for the future,” the company said in a release.

The company noted that JLR in January announced its plans to achieve £2.5 billion of investment, working capital and profit improvements by March 2020, and for that suggested a reduction in its global workforce by 4,500 people. This is expected to result in a one-time exceptional redundancy cost of around £200 million, it said.

“The EBIT margin for the full financial year ended March 2019 is expected to be marginally negative which will result in a loss before tax for the year before exceptional items,” the company said on JLR business.

Etihad Pre- Purchases Jet Airways Tickets Worth ₹252 Crores

Etihad Airways, the airline partner flight of Jet Airways has pre- purchased Jet Airways’ ticket amounting to a total of $35 million (₹ 252 crore) via its loyalty programme company Jet Privilege. Some of the funds are infused into the airline. 

The tickets will be offered to Jet Privilege members as redemption for their accumulated miles of air travel. Etihad owns 50.1 per cent of Jet Privilege, while the rest is held by Jet. The Abu Dhabi airline owns 24 per cent of Jet.

An Etihad spokesperson said the airline doesn’t comment on “rumours and speculations”.

ET had first reported this on January 23.

Jet had raised an equivalent amount via a similar transaction in October. Going by industry estimates of an immediate need for Rs 3,000 crore, Etihad’s latest infusion is unlikely to help the airline much, given that its loan repayment for this financial year itself is over Rs 1,700 crore.

The airline, facing a grave financial crisis,  has defaulted on loan repayments, delayed salaries and lease rental payments, grounded planes and reduced flights.

The airline is currently in discussions with Etihad for an equity infusion. The airline has put forward stringent conditions including a price not more than Rs 150 for each of Jet’s shares. Jet’s lenders are simultaneously working on a resolution programme that may see them converting a part of Jet’s debt into stock. Jet recently made provisions for raising its share capital by 11 times and for debt being converted into preference shares in the company.

Repo Rate Cut By RBI, Positive For Banks, NBFCs

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has changed its stance from ‘neutral’ to ‘calibrated tightening’ on Thursday. It came in the MPCs sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review meeting. The surprise factor alongwith it was the repo rate that was cut of 25 basis points (bps). 

The rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will help banks to address liquidity issues and at the same time, low cost of funds is likely to boost consumption, suggest experts. Fall in the cost of funds will also aid lending, so it is positive for banks as well as NBFCs.

“A rate cut of 25 basis points is an act of fine balance between maintaining real income and boosting economic growth. Benign inflation trajectory and low private capex were key enablers for a rate cut, which is good for mid and small-cap companies,” Dharmesh Kant, Head – Retail Research, IndiaNivesh told Moneycontrol.

The RBI has removed 100 percent risk weights for NBFCs and now their risk weights will be as per their rating, which is a positive development for higher rated NBFCs, suggest experts. The future commentary suggests that more cuts are in the offing that will be taken positively by traders and investors.

RBI said that with a view to facilitating the flow of credit to well-rated NBFCs, it has now been decided that rated exposures of banks to all NBFCs, excluding Core Investment Companies (CICs), would be risk-weighted. This will be as per the ratings assigned by the accredited rating agencies, in a manner similar to that for corporates.

“It’s a double bonanza for NBFCs—low cost of funds and a boost in consumption on account of low inflation/high disposal income. What interim Budget 2019 missed for corporates has been largely compensated by the monetary policy committee’s change in stance to neutral. It will bring stability to the financial environment,” Kant said.

In the fifth bi-monthly monetary policy resolution in December 2018, CPI inflation for 2018-19 was projected in the range of 2.7-3.2 percent in H2:2018-19 and 3.8-4.2 percent in H1:2019-20, with risks tilted to the upside.

The actual inflation outcome at 2.6 percent in Q3:2018-19 was marginally lower than the projection. There have been downward revisions in inflation projections during the course of the year, which hints at a possibility of further rate cuts in the offing.

“The RBI MPC has delighted market participants by changing stance to neutral and cutting repo rate by 25 bps. Q3FY20 inflation expectation cut to 3.9 percent means some more rate cuts can be expected in the course of the next few meetings,” Dhiraj Relli, MD & CEO, HDFC Securities on RBI Monetary Policy told Moneycontrol.

“Bond yields are likely to fall materially when FPIs revise their short-term view on India (overcoming their fears on the fiscal situation). Equity markets could rise some more, welcoming an attempt to address recent issues in the credit markets, ultimately leading to higher growth,” he said.

Mukesh Ambani Announces New E- commerce Venture By Reliance, Likely To Boost 3 Crore Small Retailers

Reliance Retail to launch a unique “new commerce” platform to empower over 3 crore small shopkeepers in India. The announcement was made by the Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani speaking at the Bengal Global Business Summit today.

The platform, “will bring win-win benefits to consumers, retailers and producers,” Ambani said.

Ambani, last month during an event in Gujarat had announced that, “Jio and Reliance Retail will launch a unique new commerce platform to empower and enrich our 12 lakh small retailers and shopkeepers in Gujarat.”

Reliance currently has near 300 million customers using its Jio service along with 10,000 outlets of its retail arm in over 6,500 cities in India.

E-commerce new third front

With Ambani’s new online venture, Indian e-commerce market led by foreign players including Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart is expected to see a dominant third player, according to market experts.

“Reliance has an ecosystem of entertainment, financial services, payment gateway, etc. Once it has customers hooked on to these services, then it is a question of time before it can start offering merchandise as well,” Arvind Singhal, chairman and managing director at retail consultancy firm Technopak told FE Online earlier. Moreover, unlike Amazon or Walmart, home grown Reliance doesn’t have constraints around restrictions on FDI in e-commerce. This might give it a regulatory edge over existing e-commerce biggies.

Farah Khan, Rohit Shetty To Collaborate For Bollywood’s Biggest Action- Comedy

Rohit Shetty and Farah Khan are to team up and bring Bollywood’s biggest action- comedy film. The upcoming project will be managed by Farah. 

Farah said in a statement, “Sometimes the Universe just conspires to give you what you didn’t even imagine…Together with Rohit, who I genuinely love as a brother and whose work ethic I respect and share, I can only promise a ‘Mother of all Entertainers’! Cannot wait to say “Roll Camera” for this one!!”

Rohit added, “It’s a privilege for My Production Company to have Farah on board to Direct a film for us as she is extremely talented and hard working. It will definitely be a wonderful association. I can’t wait to start work with this extremely talented powerhouse. Looking forward.”

This is Rohit’s first production venture after the blockbuster Simmba, starring Ranveer Singh and  Sara Ali Khan. Simmba will soon cross the Rs 250 crore mark at the Indian box office. 

Meanwhile, Rohit Shetty is prepping up for his next directorial venture, Sooryavanshi. The Akshay Kumar- starrer is going to be a cop-drama, just like Singham and Simmba.

India vs Australia: Austraila Fast Bowler Mitchell Starc Dropped Out Of Series

Mitchell Starc, Australian fast bowler has been dropped out of the ODI series against India due to an injury that striked during the second Test win against Sri Lanka. Two T20Is and a five- match ODI series against Australia is to happen in India. 

Starc will be replaced by Kane Richardson in the 15-man squad announced by Cricket Australia on Thursday. Starc, who was the man of the match in the second Domain Test against Sri Lanka in Canberra for claiming 10 wickets, is suffering from pectoral muscle injury in his upper body.

Richardson, who shone in the Big Bash T20 League for the Melbourne Renegades, is recalled for his first international series after Australia were whitewashed 5-0 by England last year. “Kane not only has experience playing ODI cricket for Australia, but he’s also performed well for his country when given the opportunity,” said selector Trevor Hohns in a statement.

VK Singh Slams UPA, Seeks Strict Action Against Those Involved In ‘Planting’ Stoties Of ‘Army Coup’

Retired General VK Singh, slammed at the Congress- led previous government of 2011- 12 following the news that said it had ‘planted’ stories of an ‘Army coup’ in the media. Singh came up a day after the BJP fumed over the progress.

Taking to social media platform Facebook, Singh, who is a minister in the National Democratic Alliance government, said that those behind the entire act were “willing to openly destroy the institution of the army to achieve personal objectives”.

“By splashing it across banner headlines, this was nothing short of treason, for the gentleman (who had put out the story) was willing to openly destroy the institution of the army to achieve personal objectives. With those in power backing him then, virtually all institutional platforms of redress were not available to me, even though I was the serving Chief of the Army,” Singh said.

Calling for strict action against those responsible for this, Singh further said, “Though six years have passed, there should be a detailed enquiry and the guilty (should be) brought to book. The age-old saying that truth must always prevail is timeless. It’s a shame so many people who played games and falsified news, are even today not accountable.”

The BJP on Wednesday accused the Congress-ruled United Progressive Alliance-II government of ‘planting’ information of a ‘fake’ Army coup to the media and sought the identity of the minister in the UPA government who had ‘planted’ the information. BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao, in an address to the media, also sought clarification from the Congress if the Pakistan Army’s intelligence unit, the ISI, had aided in this process.

The UPA government come under attack from the NDA government at the Centre after a newspaper report on Saturday claimed that the UPA had tried to malign the Indian Army and that a coup was being plotted by the Army and then-General VK Singh against the UPA-2 government.