SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Satyam Saga
CLB seeks bank account details of Rajus, ex-CFO

New Delhi, January 21
Even as the market regulator SEBI said today it was finding it difficult to ascertain the size of fraud in Satyam Computer Services, the Company Law Board (CLB) asked the founder of the software company B. Ramalinga Raju and two others to furnish their bank accounts and asset details.

Wipro rules out taking over Satyam
Bangalore, January 21
The ban by the World Bank on Wipro Technologies cast a shadow on the press conference called by the company here today to announce its third quarter results.

No more stimulus to industry in current fiscal: Montek
Govt may allocate more funds for flagship programmes
New Delhi, January 21
With an eye on elections, the government is looking at giving yet another boost to the sagging economy, not by announcing stimulus packages, but by making more allocation in its budgetary support to rural and social sector schemes.



EARLIER STORIES




Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj poses with the newly launched XCD 135 DTS-i motorcycle in New Delhi on Wednesday. The bike is priced at Rs 45,000 (ex-showroom) Delhi.
Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj poses with the newly launched XCD 135 DTS-i motorcycle in New Delhi on Wednesday. The bike is priced at Rs 45,000 (ex-showroom) Delhi. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

HSIIDC plans new industrial estates
Chandigarh, January 21
The industrial estates developed by the HSIIDC continue to attract investment from domestic as well as international companies. This was stated by Rajeev Arora, managing director, HSIIDC, today.

SEBI: Disclosure norms must
Mumbai, January 21
Market regulator SEBI has decided to make it mandatory for promoters of companies to disclose details when they pledge their holdings to lenders in the wake of the Rs 7,000-crore Satyam scam.

Excise duty collection falls 17% in region
Chandigarh, January 21
Hit by double whammy of duty cuts and financial meltdown, the excise duty collection have fallen drastically. The excise duty collection in Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir has gone down by 16.58 per cent in December.

HDFC net dips 16 pc
Mumbai, January 21
The country's largest housing finance company HDFC Ltd today reported a 15.73 per cent decline in profit after tax at Rs 546.83 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008.

Canada to strengthen trade ties with India
Hyderabad, January 21
Canada has no plans to fix any cap on the number of Indians being allowed into the country, its Minister for International Trade Stockwell Day said here today.

 





Top








 

Satyam Saga
CLB seeks bank account details of Rajus, ex-CFO
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
Even as the market regulator SEBI said today it was finding it difficult to ascertain the size of fraud in Satyam Computer Services, the Company Law Board (CLB) asked the founder of the software company B. Ramalinga Raju and two others to furnish their bank accounts and asset details.

The CLB has also barred the three from selling or pledging the company's shares till further notice.

In Mumbai, SEBI chairman C.B. Bhave said while their team had quizzed the IT company's auditors and internal finance department staffers and reviewed details of Satyam's bank deposits, it is still finding it difficult to ascertain the size of fraud. This, he said, was happening as SEBI had not been able to question Raju.

Meanwhile, at a hurriedly convened press conference here this evening, Corporate Affairs Minister P.C. Gupta said, “The orders have been issued by the Company Law Board. The details have to be given in a sealed cover by February 20”.

The minister added, “They have been told they should not mortgage or sell any of their shares in the company”.

He, however, said no decision had been taken as yet on bypassing the boards of Maytas Properties or Maytas Infrastructure, both companies also promoted by the Raju family.

There have been reports that like Satyam, the government may also take over the boards of the other two companies as the internal investigation by the Corporate Affairs Minister has pointed out that money from the IT company had been diverted to the other two firms.

The minister said the other two persons who had been issued the directives by the CLB were Raju's brother and former Satyam managing director B. Rama Raju and former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas.

Earlier in the day, the minister while talking to reporters, said there were many companies interested in buying embattled Satyam, but gave no further details.

"There are many corporate houses who are interested in this," he said while adding "the government has not taken any view on this ... it is for the board to take that call. But as far as the government is concerned, there is no such thinking, no such move".

The comments from the minister came after L&T chairman A M Naik met the Corporate Affairs Minister yesterday afternoon.

The minister said Satyam had several Fortune 500 companies as clients, besides doing work for several governments. "The government would try to preserve the company so that it does not lose face in the international market."

Reports also said that the six-member new board of Satyam, which would meet in Hyderabad tomorrow, would look to secure emergency funding for the firm and will consider appointing a banker for the rescue effort. This would be in addition to the other issues to be taken up like the appointment of a CEO and CFO and taking a look at the US law suits.

The banker would help the board consider all options in a bid to salvage the company, said Deepak Parekh, who is one of the new board members. He also said the company had pledged some of its receivables to banks to secure funding.

He had earlier said that Satyam had Rs 1,700 crore in receivables, which if received on time could see the fraud-hit IT company out of trouble.

Top

 

Wipro rules out taking over Satyam
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, January 21
The ban by the World Bank on Wipro Technologies cast a shadow on the press conference called by the company here today to announce its third quarter results.

Wipro chairman Azim Premji appealed to the media to refrain from raising the WB ban issue. Wipro recently hit the headlines for the “wrong reasons”, Premji said and added that his colleagues had already explained Wipro’s position on that issue to the media. “We have built this company with 40 years of unyielding commitment to integrity. We hope you appreciate this and focus interactions today on other business matters,” he said.

Yet, the first question asked to Premji when the question-answer session began was on the World Bank (WB) ban on Wipro. Premji was asked why Wipro did not disclose anything about the ban which was imposed in 2007. He was also asked if the WB charge against Wipro of giving undue benefits to the bank employees was unjust, why Wipro did not do anything about it. “You are not going to get an answer on that,” a visibly agitated Premji said. “It is a ridiculous statement,” he said, when asked whether Wipro followed the law only in letter and not in spirit.

The boss’s frayed temper prompted Suresh Senapaty, Wipro executive director and chief financial officer, to intervene and ask reporters to confine their questions to the Wipro’s third quarter results and that was the end of the chapter for questions related to the contentious issue.

The Satyam scam was the other issue which came up at the press conference. Premji said Wipro was not interested in “taking over” Satyam or Maytas, which is owned by the disgraced Satyam chairman Ramalinga Raju’ sons.

Posts Q3 profit of Rs 1,004 cr

Mumbai: Wipro on Wednesday reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 1,003.9 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2008, while the company had a net profit of Rs 854 crore in the third quarter of financial year 2007-2008. The total income stood at Rs 6,773 crore for the December quarter of the current fiscal, whereas it was at Rs 5,433.2 crore a year ago, Wipro said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Top

 

No more stimulus to industry in current fiscal: Montek
Govt may allocate more funds for flagship programmes
Bhagyashree Pande
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
With an eye on elections, the government is looking at giving yet another boost to the sagging economy, not by announcing stimulus packages, but by making more allocation in its budgetary support to rural and social sector schemes.

Sources in the Finance Ministry say that there is a support from various quarters, including the Planning Commission, for increasing the gross budgetary support (GBS). GBS means the money that the government allocates to various social and priority sector programmes.

When translated, it means that more money will be allocated to the UPA government’s flagship programmes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna etc. The spending thrust will definitely be on the incumbent government’s programmes, but with an eye on generating more employment, explain sources.

According to estimates, the demand increase for GBS ,which has to be cleared by Prime Minister in consultation with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, is nearly 17-18 per cent more than last year.

The demand is for an estimated Rs 2,80,000 crore for the 2009-10, as against the GBS of current fiscal (2008-09) which is Rs 2,40,000 crore.

However, economists say this is a bold outlay and that too at a time of economic weakening and sagging tax revenues. Last year, the GBS was increased by around 11 per cent from the budgeted Rs 2,28,000 crore (approx).

The sources also say that the main worry of the government is the implementation of the two stimulus packages that have been announced. It means that the money is being actually used for the purpose for which it is meant and does not get funneled to other channels. Being an election time, there will be a laxity on the part of the implementing agencies as all sectors will be busy with preparation, and lack of oversight might mean revenue leakage at the ground level.

However, economists also say that the government has already indicated that deficits are not an area of concern in these trying times and so an increased outlay may find support from all sections ahead of the electoral process.

In a related development, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman, Planning Commssion, has once again stated that there will be no more stimulus packages in the current fiscal.

“I have not proposed another stimulus package, whatever has been done is sufficient and should be implemented,” he stated.

“There will also be no tax breaks or tax concessions this fiscal for the industry,” he clarified.

Top

 

HSIIDC plans new industrial estates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The industrial estates developed by the HSIIDC continue to attract investment from domestic as well as international companies. This was stated by Rajeev Arora, managing director, HSIIDC, today.

He said the corporation has also drawn up ambitious plans to develop new industrial estates and expansion of a number of existing industrial estates. Four new IMTs are being set up at Rohtak, Kharkhoda, Faridabad and Jagadhari. The development plan for IMT Faridabad has been finalised and notification for acquisition of land for the other two IMTs have been released. Apart from the IMTs, a new industrial estate is also being planned at Sohna in Gurgaon district over an area of 1,500 acres. 

Top

 

SEBI: Disclosure norms must
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 21
Market regulator SEBI has decided to make it mandatory for promoters of companies to disclose details when they pledge their holdings to lenders in the wake of the Rs 7,000-crore Satyam scam.

"Promoters of companies must disclose details of shares pledged with lenders," Chandrashekar B Bhave, chairman, SEBI, told reporters after its board meeting today. SEBI has decided that the disclosures made by promoters should be of two types: first when the number of shares pledged goes beyond a particular limit and second comprehensive disclosures made on a regular basis.

"We will define this (the limit) in the coming weeks," Bhave said. He added that the listing agreement signed by companies would be amended in order to bring about this amendment.

The market regulator said the watchdog was looking at carrying out long-term systemic improvements in the wake of the Satyam scandal.

He said the process of ascertaining the size of the funds embezzled by Satyam's promoter B Ramalinga Raju was still continuing. SEBI has, however, not begun any formal investigation into Maytas Infrastructure promoted by the Raju family, Bhave said.

Top

 

Excise duty collection falls 17% in region
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Hit by double whammy of duty cuts and financial meltdown, the excise duty collection have fallen drastically. The excise duty collection in Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir has gone down by 16.58 per cent in December.

Officials in the Chandigarh zone of Central Excise and Customs informed TNS that the central excise collection had come down to Rs 723.39 crore in December 2008, as compared to Rs 867.12 crore in December 2007. Officials say that this year they had set a target of collecting Rs 1,745 crore from this region, but so far they have not even been able to collect 50 per cent of the target.

It may be noted that this slowdown in indirect tax collection has been witnessed across the country. Figures available with The Tribune show that excise duty collection in the country fell from Rs 10,065 crore in November 2007 to Rs 8,556 crore in November 2008.

In fact, according to Central Board of Excise and Customs, the government is expected to bear a revenue loss of Rs 40,475 crore from post-budget duty cuts. This loss includes the recent across-the-board four per cent excise cut announced by the Centre to boost the sagging economy.

Officials here informed TNS that the deficit was rampant in all four commissionerates of the department in Chandigarh zone. The highest deficit of 74.31 per cent has been witnessed in the Jammu and Kashmir commissionerate, where the collections have fallen from Rs 20.94 crore to Rs 5.38 crore. The deficit in Chandigarh office is 8.18 per cent, followed by 16.40 per cent deficit in Ludhiana and 40.84 per cent in Jalandhar.

The only solace has been an increase in the service tax and the customs duty in this region. The service tax collection has shown a 20.18 per cent jump — from Rs 481.16 crore in December 2007 to Rs 578.25 crore in December 2008.

The customs duty collection in this region, too, managed to keep pace with the growth in the country, which went up by 13 per cent during the first eight months of this year — from Rs 66,838 crore to Rs 75,551 crore during the same period last year. In this region, the customs duty went up from Rs 515.32 crore in December 2007 to Rs 593.65 crore in December 2008.

Top

 

HDFC net dips 16 pc

Mumbai, January 21
The country's largest housing finance company HDFC Ltd today reported a 15.73 per cent decline in profit after tax at Rs 546.83 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008.

The firm had a PAT of Rs 648.93 crore in the December quarter of FY'08, HDFC Ltd said in a filing to the BSE. The company's total income rose 42.54 per cent to Rs 2,917.77 crore during the quarter under review, from Rs 2,046.93 crore in the same period last fiscal.

Biocon net at Rs 28.20 cr

The country's biggest biotechnology company, Biocon, today reported a net profit of Rs 28.20 crore for the third quarter ended December 2008, while it had a net profit of Rs 291.82 crore in the same period last fiscal.

The income from operations of the firm rose to Rs 436.19 crore during the quarter under review, from Rs 237.24 crore in the year-ago period, Biocon said. — PTI

Top

 

Canada to strengthen trade ties with India
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 21
Canada has no plans to fix any cap on the number of Indians being allowed into the country, its Minister for International Trade Stockwell Day said here today.

“There is no cap on Indians wanting to come to Canada. The Indo-Canadian community is very robust and that is why more investments are coming into Canada and people recognise the opportunities,” he told reporters on the sidelines of inauguration of a new Canadian trade office in Hyderabad.

There are an estimated eight lakh people of Indian origin in Canada and of them about five lakh have their roots in Punjab.

Day, who is leading a business delegation to India, exuded confidence that Indo-Canadian trade relations would grow and diversify further in near future.

Noting that India offered a huge opportunity for Canadian goods, services and technology, he said the two countries were moving towards formalising a broader trade agreement that allows free flow of goods bilaterally.

Canada, he said, was looking forward to cooperation in a wide range of areas, including agriculture, infrastructure, information and communications technology, oil and gas, electrical power, aerospace and defence.

Day, who had a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh early this week, said steps were being taken on both sides to broaden the bilateral relations. “Trade relations between India and Canada have been good in the past and are now moving into another level,” he said.

The Canadian government has identified India as a priority market under the Global Commerce Strategy which provides $50 million per year to further develop Canada’s trade and investment interests at home and abroad.

In 2007, the two-way merchandise trade increased by 4 per cent to reach an all-time high of $3.74 billion and the two-way direct investment touched $652 million.

With the inauguration of Hyderabad Trade office, Canada now has seven trade offices in India, making it the largest network of trade offices outside the United States. The existing trade offices are located in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Chandigarh.

Speaking on the occasion, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy said the choice of Hyderabad for locating the new trade office reflected the growing importance of the city as a favoured trade and investment destination.

“We hope this will pave the way for further improvement in bilateral trade and business,” Reddy said.

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |