Weekly News
Vodafone wants to settle tax row out of court
 THE Dutch government, on behalf of Vodafone International Holdings BV,
has...
CABINET RESHUFFLE LIKELY IN MID-JAN
Sibal to hold telecom portfolio till next rejig
 IN AN attempt to erase the popular i...
CAN OF WORMS: TELECOM ENTANGLED IN CORRUPTION
CAG calls Raja’s bluff on 2G licence allocation
 Raja dumped advice of PM a...
 CAG also slammed Mr Raja for mishandling the 2G spectrum allocation in
2008, noting that the telecom ministry under him ...
WIN-WIN DEAL POSITIVES FOR BOTH SIDES
Axis wins Enam, buys its best for 2,067 cr
 AMBITIOUS private lender Axis Bank has ...
 Mr Chokhani, and the founders of Enam—Nemish Shah, Vallabh
Bhanshali and Jagdish Master—will own a 3.3% equity in Axis a...
Here’s the bellwether of scams
Bells palsy:Trai annuls 62 licences for rollout delays
 THE telecom regulator has asked th...
SPECTRUM SCANDAL GOVT FILES
AFFIDAVIT TODAY
 WITH the Supreme Court’s observations in the 2G spectrum case
creating a tox...
Manmohan acted promptly on 2G scam
complaints: PMO
 The Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday told the Supreme
Court that D...
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  1. 1. Weekly News
  2. 2. Vodafone wants to settle tax row out of court  THE Dutch government, on behalf of Vodafone International Holdings BV, has approached the Indian government for settling a three-year-old dispute involving a tax claim of over 11,000 crore, even as the world’s largest private mobile phone company continues to fight the case in the Supreme court, two tax officials with direct knowledge of the development said. UK- headquartered Vodafone had bought Hutchison’s operations in India through its Netherlands-registered subsidiary, Vodafone International Holdings BV.  The Netherlands has now written to India asking it to consider an alternate dispute resolution that will run parallel to the ongoing court process through what is termed as a Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP), a government official aware of the development said.  MAP is an alternate process of dispute resolution, and is an option available to a taxpayer in addition to and concurrent with the appellate process. However, under MAP, once the proceedings are initiated, it is possible to obtain a stay on the tax demand provided one gives a bank guarantee.
  3. 3. CABINET RESHUFFLE LIKELY IN MID-JAN Sibal to hold telecom portfolio till next rejig  IN AN attempt to erase the popular image of sleaze now associated with the telecom ministry, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday handed over the reins of Sanchar Bhawan to HRD minister Kapil Sibal. But the department will have to be handed over to the DMK when Mr Singh goes in for a rejig of his team, probably in mid- January.  The prime minister got an opportunity to exercise his “discretion” on selecting a baby-sitter only because DMK chief M Karunanidhi failed to thrash out the inner dynamics of his party and choose a successor to disgraced ex-minister A Raja.  While TR Baalu’s nomination will just not be acceptable to the Congress—he was kept out of the government in 2009 at its instance— the DMK chief’s daughter, Kanimozhi, does not have the complete backing of the family. Moreover, Ms Kanimozhi is closely identified with a discredited Raja.
  4. 4. CAN OF WORMS: TELECOM ENTANGLED IN CORRUPTION CAG calls Raja’s bluff on 2G licence allocation  Raja dumped advice of PM and ministries to favour a chosen few in allocation of precious 2G airwaves in 2008 while companies hid facts, used fictitious documents & fraudulent methods to grab licences Shady cos benefited from tainted minister.  ARAJA flouted almost every rule in the book, ignored advice from the prime minister down and indulged in blatant favouritism while awarding mobile licences to mostly undeserving companies, the country’s chief auditor has said, in a stinging indictment of the former telecom minister who is accused of causing a loss of nearly 177,000 crore to the government.  Using language rarely ever used against a minister, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) accused Raja of granting “undue benefits” to Reliance Communications (RCOM) and giving “undue advantage” to the erstwhile Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB), singling out these two companies for special mention in sub-headings of its report submitted to Parliament on Tuesday. The report mentioned Swan as a “front” for Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance.
  5. 5.  CAG also slammed Mr Raja for mishandling the 2G spectrum allocation in 2008, noting that the telecom ministry under him awarded 122 mobile permits to nine companies at prices fixed in 2001, disregarding the prime minister’s plea for a ‘fair and transparent allocation policy’. It also accused him of ignoring the advice of the law and finance ministries, and the counsel of the telecom ministry’s senior bureaucrats.  The auditor said 70% of the telecom licences issued by Mr Raja were “illegal”, and companies granted these permits, notably Unitech, S Tel, Loop Mobile, Datacom (Videocon) and Etisalat, had disclosed “incomplete information and submitted fictitious documents and used fraudulent means” for obtaining them. Many companies were allowed to change ‘doctored and fictitious documents’ later, in some cases even as late as 12 months after they had submitted their applications. It said most licensees had prior information and even pre-dated demand drafts, allowing them to jump the queue. “The entire process of allocation of licences lacked transparency and was undertaken in an arbitrary, unfair and inequitable manner,” the CAG said,
  6. 6. WIN-WIN DEAL POSITIVES FOR BOTH SIDES Axis wins Enam, buys its best for 2,067 cr  AMBITIOUS private lender Axis Bank has snapped up the best of the house of Enam—one of Dalal Street’s most influential brokerage-cum- investment banks.  Axis, led by CEO Shikha Sharma, a former ICICI Bank director, will acquire Enam Securities’ key businesses such as investment banking, institutional and retail broking, and distribution of financial products in an allstock deal worth 2,067 crore.  With this, Enam will exit its famed agency businesses that will be demerged from Enam Securities to a wholly-owned Axis subsidiary. Close to 400 Enam officials will move to the new outfit that will be headed by Manish Chokhani—a key member of the Enam management and one of the four shareholders in Enam Securities.
  7. 7.  Mr Chokhani, and the founders of Enam—Nemish Shah, Vallabh Bhanshali and Jagdish Master—will own a 3.3% equity in Axis after the bank issues new shares to them. The transaction will need approvals of RBI, Sebi, and the high courts of Gujarat and Mumbai.  The story was broken by ET NOW, this paper’s business channel, at 12:35 pm on Wednesday, ahead of other broadcasters and wire services. Later in the afternoon, ET NOW correctly reported the swap ratio, which is 5.7 Axis Bank shares for one Enam share.
  8. 8. Here’s the bellwether of scams Bells palsy:Trai annuls 62 licences for rollout delays  THE telecom regulator has asked the government to cancel 62 of the 122 licences issued by former telecom minister A Raja under controversial circumstances in 2008 to new companies, including joint ventures of international operators such as Telenor ASA, Emirates Telecommunications Corp and Sistema JSFC, because they had not been able to launch services in time.  The recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India— which claims that its views were ignored by Mr Raja—strengthens the possibility of several licences issued in 2008 being revoked.  On an action-packed day, the telecom department, under new minister Kapil Sibal, decided to seek legal opinion on the validity of the telecom licences dished out by Mr Raja after the country’s national auditor said 70% of these mobile permits were obtained through fraudulent means, an official aware of the development
  9. 9. SPECTRUM SCANDAL GOVT FILES AFFIDAVIT TODAY  WITH the Supreme Court’s observations in the 2G spectrum case creating a toxic political environment for the government, the Centre on Friday decided to depute Attorney General Ghulam E Vahanvati to represent the prime minister in the apex court for countering the charge that there was a delay in acting on the petition for the prosecution of disgraced telecom minister A Raja.  The affidavit that will be filed in the court on Saturday will explain “every attention received and action taken” on the petition of Janata Party MP Subramaniam Swamy for action against Mr Raja.  Mr Swamy had sought sanction for the prosecution of Mr Raja in a communication to the prime minister on November 29, 2008. “The affidavit will convince the court that every communication from Swamy received the required attention,” sources said.
  10. 10. Manmohan acted promptly on 2G scam complaints: PMO  The Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday told the Supreme Court that Dr Manmohan Singh acted promptly within days on the complaint of Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking his sanction to prosecute the then telecom minister A Raja in 2G spectrum allocation scam. The Prime Minister referred the first two complaints of Swamy for examination to the concerned official within two days, third complaint within four days, the fourth one in a day from the date of its receiving, said PMO in its 11-page affidavit filed by its director, V Vidyavati. According to the PMO, it had received two more communications from Swamy which were looked into
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