|Saturday, April 8, 2000,
IOC asked to pay Rs 2,000 crore
for duty evasion
Rs 3,000 crore is lost
80 pc duty on rice,
SEBI relaxes IPO & mutual fund
Corporation Bank to pay 20 pc
PowerGrid eyes telecom
Interest rates cut
Two posts of Secretary abolished
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) The Calcutta Customs has slapped a show cause-cum-demand notice on the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) directing it to pay over Rs 2,000 crore for the alleged Customs duty evasion on import of petroleum products. When contacted, IOC Director Finance P. Sugavanam confirmed the show cause notice and said the company would move the Customs and Excise Gold Control Appellate Tribunal (CEGAT) against the notice issued by the Collector of Customs (Port), Calcutta, for the alleged Customs duty evasion of Rs 975.9 crore.
We will appeal before the CEGAT by month-end, Sugavanam said, but declined to give further details.
The Customs has asked IOC to pay the principal amount (Rs 975.9 crore) along with 100 per cent cent penalty and 20 per cent interest, which would add up to well over Rs 2,000 crore.
IOC sources said the company would seek permission of the Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary to appeal against the show-cause notice.
This would be the highest-ever duty demand made in the Indian corporate history by the revenue department for the alleged evasion, the sources said.
The Collector of Customs (Port), Calcutta, had issued a show cause-cum-demand notice last month to IOC for the alleged Customs duty evasion on the ground that the company had suppressed ship pre-detention demurrage charges for the period before 1998.
The IOC sources, however, said that the demurrage charges were being included in the Customs value.
Company sources said the Customs Collector (Calcutta) was empowered to hear the case on behalf of all the ports.
The notice charged IOC with suppression of facts and misdeclaration.
IOC imports eight petroleum products and the duty demand pertains to only five of the products imported through all the major ports in the country, the sources said.
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) The Government loses a whopping Rs 3,000 crore every year on account of black marketing of foodgrains in the open market from the Public Distribution System (PDS), Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Shanta Kumar said here today.Stating that only two-third of the Rs 9,000 crore food subsidy actually reached the poor, he said gram panchayats had been empowered to monitor and inspect ration shops.
Speaking at the editors conference, the minister said about 36 per cent of wheat, 31 per cent of rice, 21 per cent of sugar and 55 per cent of edible oil, meant for the PDS system, were being sold in the open market.
He said that it will be made mandatory for the ration shops to provide information about food stocks to the gram panchayat. The district rationing authority would also send a copy of the gram panchayat concerned about the quantity of foodgrains released to the ration shops.
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) The Government today imposed Customs duty up to 80 per cent on rice varieties and some fruits to restrict cheap imports of these commodities in the country, Consumers Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Shanta Kumar said today.
The Government imposed 80 per cent Customs duty on rice in husk, husked (brown) and broken rice from nil import duty. The duty on milled rice would now be 70 per cent, he said at the Editors Conference on social sector issues here.
There would be 50 per cent Customs duty on maize seed, grain sorghum, millet and spelt which was being imported freely till today.
The Government has also raised duties on fresh grapes from 25 to 35 per cent and on apples from 35 to 50 per cent. The duty on preparations for infant use (in retail packs) has also been hiked from 15 to 35 per cent.
However, Customs duty on grape fruit and prunes has been brought down from 35 per cent to 25 per cent. The duty on almonds in shell has come down from Rs 55 to Rs 35 per kg while the duty on shelled almonds has been reduced to Rs 65 per kg from Rs 100 per kg.
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today relaxed public issue norms by allowing media, entertainment and telecommunication companies to issue a minimum of 10 per cent of the equity to the public from the existing level of 25 per cent.
The SEBI board also rationalised the book-building norms by permitting companies to raise the entire money in the primary market through the book building process.
After the board meeting here, SEBI Chairman D.R. Mehta told reporters that the market regulator has allowed mutual funds to invest in mortgage backed securities in a bid to give a boost to the housing sector.
He said under the revised IPO norms, media (including advertising) and entertainment companies can raise at least 10 per cent of the paid-up capital from the primary market.
However, to prevent market manipulation in these companies, SEBI has made it mandatory for companies to issue a minimum of 20 lakh shares and not be less than Rs 50 crore.
This would ensure that there would be enough floating stock in the market, he said.
Mehta said these relaxations will be subject to the conditions that source of revenue and profit (not less than 75 per cent) would come from these sectors.
Bank to pay 20 pc interim
CHANDIGARH, April 7
Corporation Bank has become the first nationalised
bank in the country to declare interim dividend for its
shareholders. The Board of Directors which met at Mumbai
today, declared an interim dividend of 20 per cent for
the year 1999-2000. Corporation Bank also announced the
reduction of its PLR for loan maturities up to and
inclusive of 1 year to 11.50 per cent. The bank has also
slashed its lending rate for loans beyond 1 year tenure
to 11.75 per cent.
New Delhi, April 7 The PowerGrid Corporation of India plans to enter the telecom sector through a joint venture for the setting up national long distance operations (NLDO).
PowerGrid will have 49 per cent equity stake in the joint venture, Mr R P Singh, Chairman and managing Director of PowerGrid, said while addressing a press conference here today.
Already 25 private partners have responded to the global bids and would meet on April 15. The partners would be finalised early next month, he said.
The NLDO would be put in place by the end of this year.
Most of the joint venture partners will be clubbing with each other as the NLDO business is an expensive and risky proposition, he said.
The NLD operations would provide switched long distance voice and data services where the main revenue would come in.
The preliminary estimate of the network for the NLDO by PowerGrid calls for an installation of 50,000 km of optical fibre cable at an estimated expenditure of Rs 5000 crore. PowerGrid is also planning to install 15,000 km of optical fibre connecting 35 major cities at a cost of Rs 1300 crore.
He said the transmission of power will not be affected at all though the setting up of the telecom infrastructure and the existing power lines would not be leased out.
On revenue sharing with the state electricity boards, Mr Singh said the SEBs must be willing to share profits as well as the losses.
Sharing of revenue also depends on the directions of (TRAI) or the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), he said.
The turnover of the company went up to Rs 2120 crore from Rs 1770 crore in 1998-99, registering a growth of 20 per cent and the net profit rose by 28 per cent to touch Rs 570 crore against Rs 444 crore during the corresponding period last year.
On the commercial front,
Power Grid was able to realise Rs 1827 crore as against
the billing of Rs 1958 crore. The outstanding stands at
over Rs 1400 crore and major defaulting SEBs include
UPPCL, DVB, RSEB, Jammu and Kashmir, BSEB, Sikkim and NER
CHANDIGARH, April 7 Canara Bank has decided to revise the prime lending rate (PLR) for all short-term loans from 12.5 per cent (ex-tax) to 11.75 per cent (ex-tax) from April 10, 2000.
The bank has also decided to revise interest rates on domestic term NRE and NRNR deposits downwards from April 15.
The bank will offer same
interest rates for single bulk domestic term deposits of
Rs 15 lakh and above also, except for the maturity slab
of 180 days to less than one year, which will be at 6.75
per cent a year.
NEW DELHI, April 4 (UNI) As a first step towards restructuring the economic ministries, the government has decided to abolish posts of two Secretaries Industrial Development and Supplies. A formal announcement is expected soon.
Disclosing this here today, Industries Secretary Ajit Kumar said with the introduction of new industrial policy a decade ago, removing various government controls, the role of various departments in the economic ministries have been shrinking. Therefore, functions of those departments are being reoriented to keep abreast of global realisation.
The above decision was in that direction, he pointed out.
Asked what will be the fate of the joint Secretaries in these two departments, Mr Kumar said it would take some time to decide about their posts. We are working out how to readjust the surplus staff in these two departments, he added.
L&T to hive off cement business
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) Larsen and Toubro Ltd will hive off its cement business as a separate company in the current fiscal as part of its ongoing restructuring. We are implementing recommendations of the Boston Consultancy Group for restructuring various businesses, an L&T official told reporters here last night.
Pentasoft Tech to pay 50 pc
Chennai, April 7 (PTI)
Pentasoft Technologies Ltd today declared a
dividend of 50 per cent after recording a huge jump of
346 per cent in its net profit to Rs 27.67 crore in the
fourth quarter ended March 31 against Rs 6.21 crore
during the same period last year. The companys
turnover went up by 358 per cent to Rs 124.14 crore from
last years Rs 26.37 of which 89.3 per cent came
from overseas operations. Pentasofts net profit for
the year ended March 31 went up from Rs 14.10 crore to Rs
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