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Arun Jaitely withdrawn EPF Tax proposal



Facing critism, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday announced in Lok Sabha that the government has decided to roll back the budget proposal that sought to create a pensioned society by discouraging full withdrawal.

“A number of representations have been received from various sections of the society, including members of parliament, suggesting that this change will force people to invest in anuity products even if they are not willing to do so,” Jaitley told the Lok Sabha.

“The main argument is that employees should have the choice of where to invest. Theoretically, such freedom is desirable, but it is important for the government to achieve policy objectives by instrumentality of taxation,” he said.

“In the present reform, the policy objective is not to get more revenues but to encourage to join the pension scheme,” Jaitley said, adding the proposal he listed in paragraph 138 and 139 of his budget speech was being “withdrawn” to enable a “comprehensive” review.

“The proposal for giving 40 percent exemption given to NPS (National Pension Scheme) subscribers at the time of withdrawal remains.”

Para 138 of his speech said: “In case of superannuation funds and recognised provident funds, including EPF, the same norm of 40 percent of corpus to be tax free will apply in respect of corpus created out of contributions made after April 1, 2016.”

Para 139 said: “Further, the annuity fund which goes to the legal heir after the death of pensioner will not be taxable in all three cases. Also, we are proposing a monetary limit for contribution of employer in recognized provident and superannuation Fund of Rs.1.5 lakh per annum for taking tax benefit.”

Wefornews Bureau


Plea in SC seeking separate human rights bodies for J&K, Ladakh

The petitioner argued that these seven different commissions were dealing with different aspects of rights.




Supreme Court

New Delhi, Sep 19 : A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to immediately set up separate Human Rights Commissions for the two Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

The plea filed by advocate Asim Sarode said that after abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in 2019, the government divided Jammu & Kashmir into two separate Union territories and reportedly the general administration department has shut down seven State Commissions with effect from October 31, 2019 – Jammu & Kashmir Human Rights Commission (SHRC), State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights (SCPWCR), State Commission for Persons with Disabilities (SCPwD), State Information Commission (SIC), State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC), State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) and State Accountability Commission (SAC).

The petitioner argued that these seven different commissions were dealing with different aspects of rights.

“It is mentioned that upon repeal of the Acts related to these Commissions by the Jammu & Kashmir Re-organisation Act, 2019, sanctions have been accorded to winding up these Commissions. The terms of all office holders of these Commissions also came to an end on October 31, 2019,” said the PIL. According to the Supreme Court website, the matter is likely to come up for hearing on September 24.

The plea contended that the rights have to be exercised in continuity and rights cannot be curtailed abruptly for uncertain time without any due process of law. “In all these seven Commissions mentioned above wherein cases were pending before passing the order of their dissolution and the people who are seeking justice from these Commissions as well as the other people who might be suffering rights violation are deprived from accessing the justice mechanism,” argued the plea.

The petitioner contended that if the rights of the people from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have not been taken away after abrogation of Section 370, then it becomes the duty of the Centre and its agencies to discharge the Constitutional obligations to protect the citizens and re-establish various commissions where citizens can approach for protecting their rights.

The petitioner cited that 41,866 persons lost their lives in 71,038 incidents of terrorist violence, which include 14,038 civilians, 5,292 personnel of security forces and 22,538 terrorists. “Even if the figures are considered as true or in the absence of statistics, data or information about how many people are killed in violence, it becomes the duty of the government to set up all required machinery to demand protection of rights and accountability on the part of the government,” said the plea.

The petitioner urged the top court to issue directions to the Centre to set up a separate State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights for Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. Besides the Centre, the petitioner has made National Human Rights Commission and Law Commission as respondents in the matter.

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CBI Files Supplementary Charge Sheet In Agustawestland Case, Names 15 Accused

The CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet in this case on September 1, 2017 against then Air Chief Marshal Tyagi and 11 other accused.




AgustaWestland AW101

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a supplementary charge sheet against 15 accused, including alleged middleman Christian Michel and accused-turned-approver Rajiv Saxena, in connection with the alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

The CBI alleged that British national and middleman James paid Rs 90 lakh as consultant fee to K.V. Kunhikrishnan, former GM, Westland Support Services Ltd as consultant fee.

The second charge sheet was filed on Friday and doesn’t name any politician or senior bureaucrat so far. The first charge sheet in the case was filed in September 2017 naming former IAF chief SP Tyagi and others.

The CBI filed the supplementary charge sheet in a Delhi court on Friday against Sandeep Tyagi, Praveen Bakshi, Partap Krishan Aggarwal, the then Managing Director of IDS Infotech Ltd., India, Narendra Kumar Jain, Rajesh Kumar Jain of Kolkata, Sunil Kothari, the then Managing Director of OM Metals Infotech Pvt. Ltd., Kunhikrishnan, a close associate of James.

The CBI has also named Saxena, then Director of Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, Giacomino Saponaro, then Managing Director of AgustaWestland International Ltd., Deepak Goyal, an official of Gautam Khaitan, IDS Infotech Ltd., Mohali/Chandigarh, (through its Managing Director P.K. Aggarwal), Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (through its Director Gautam Khaitan), Neel Madhav Consultants Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (through its Director Sandeep Tyagi), Mainak Agency Pvt. Ltd., earlier at Kolkata, now in New Delhi (through its Directors Sandeep Tyagi and Sanjeev Tyagi and Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius (through its Director Rajiv Saxena).

In the charge sheet, the CBI alleged that Kunhikrishnan was paid about Rs 90 lakh as consultant fee by Michel, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail after he was deported from UAE in December 2018.

The CBI alleged that Kunhikrishnan received documents and information related to the ongoing subject of procurement (12 VVIP chopper deal), which were supplied to AgustaWestland officials — Saponaro.

The CBI also said that during further investigation it was found that Sanjeev Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi (both cousins of SP Tyagi) through Neel Madhav Consultants Pvt Ltd acquired Mainak Agency Pvt Ltd at Kolkata in 2009 to launder illicit kickbacks/ill-gotten money and received approximately Rs 5 crore through banking channels in collusion with N.K. Jain, R.K. Jain and Kothari, who created shell companies and opened fake accounts in different banks for returning such kickbacks.

It was further alleged that in pursuance of conspiracy, the other accused — Agarwal, Bakshi, Saxena — through their companies had facilitated in transferring/routing the kickbacks/bribe paid by AgustaWestland at UK.

Saxena was brought from Dubai in January 2019 and made an approver by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the VVIP chopper deal case but the financial probe agency later sought revocation of this status saying he misled the investigators.

ED claimed that Saxena is a ‘hawala operator’ and accommodation entry provider who runs the accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies known as Matrix Group companies and has laundered proceeds of crime in the cases of AgustaWestland scam.

The CBI alleged that Goyal allegedly prepared fake invoices and sent mails for transferring the said kickbacks through IDS Infotech Ltd, Interstellar Technologies Mauritius and other companies. The CBI has recovered copies of documents and details during the probe. The case pertains to the purchase of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica (now known as the group) at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore for ferrying VVIPs.

In the deal, bribes were allegedly paid to middlemen and others. The purchase was cleared in 2010 by the then UPA government.

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

The CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet in this case on September 1, 2017 against then Air Chief Marshal Tyagi and 11 other accused.

In its first charge sheet, CBI had established “money trail” of 62 million euros (around Rs 415 crore) out of suspected 67 million euros (Rs 452 crore) total bribe paid to Indians through middlemen.

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LS passes Bill to decriminalise small offences, promote ease of doing business

The Bill exempts companies with a CSR liability of up to Rs 50 lakh a year from setting up CSR committees.




Aurag Thakur in Lok Sabha

New Delhi, Sep 19 : The Lok Sabha on Saturday unanimously passed a Bill which has the provisions to promote ease of doing business and ease of living for corporates in India and decriminalisation provision for firms indulging in small offences.

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to amend the Companies Act, 2013. The Bill was moved in the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2020 to introduce certain modifications to the Companies Act, 2013.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved the Bill in the House for its passage after a marathon discussion while passing the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020.

The Bill was passed following a lengthy debate on Saturday evening, almost three hours after the scheduled time set for the House to run in the ongoing Monsoon Session that ends at 7 p.m.

The Finance Minister said that decriminalisation will benefit small MSMES (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

“If we put these small businessmen into jail for small offences, it will affect their family,” Sitharaman said.

The Minister said there were 134 penal provisions when the law was made in 2013 and now these have come down to 124 after the passing of the Bill.

However, the minister clarified that the number of serious offences or non-compoundable offences will remain the same as 2013 — 35.

She explained that non-compoundable offences included frauds and those hurting public interest, and said “there is no provision to give the offenders relief under this law.”

Sitharaman said, “When we talk about the amendments, there will be decriminalisation on 48 sections, providing ease of living by reducing the burden of paper work.”

The minister said that the government is adding a new chapter to the Bill which will benefit producer organisations so that they can do direct business.

Under the 2013 Act, certain provisions from the Companies Act, 1956 continue to apply to producer companies. These include provisions on their membership, conduct of meetings, and maintenance of accounts.

Producer companies include companies which are engaged in the production, marketing and sale of agricultural produce, and sale of produce from cottage industries.

The Bill removes these provisions and adds a new chapter to the Act with similar provisions for producer companies.

The Bill makes three changes. First, it removes the penalty for certain offences. For example, it removes the penalties which apply for any change in the rights of a class of shareholders made in violation of the Act. Where a specific penalty is not mentioned, the Act prescribes a penalty of up to Rs 10,000 which may extend to Rs 1,000 per day for a continuing default.

Second, it removes imprisonment in certain offences. For example, it removes the imprisonment of three years applicable to a company for buying back its shares without complying with the Act.

Third, it reduces the amount of fine payable in certain offences. For example, it reduces the maximum fine for failure to file an annual return with the Registrar of Companies from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.

Under the Act, small companies are only liable to pay up to 50 per cent of the penalty for certain offences. The Bill extends this provision to all producer companies and startups.

The Bill empowers the Central government to allow certain classes of public companies to list classes of securities (as may be prescribed) in foreign jurisdictions. The Bill empowers the Central government, in consultation with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), to exclude companies issuing specified classes of securities from the definition of a “listed company”.

Under the Act, companies with net worth, turnover or profits above a specified amount are required to constitute CSR committees and spend 2 per cent of their average net profit in the last three financial years towards its CSR policy.

The Bill exempts companies with a CSR liability of up to Rs 50 lakh a year from setting up CSR committees.

Further, companies which spend any amount in excess of their CSR obligation in a financial year can set off the excess amount towards their CSR obligations in subsequent financial years.

The Bill also empowers the Central government to require classes of unlisted companies (as may be prescribed) to prepare and file periodical financial results, and to complete the audit or review of such results.

It also seeks to establish benches of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

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