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ED issues show-cause notice to NDTV for FEMA violation

The show-cause notice, issued under the FEMA, was issued to the founders and executive co-chairpersons of the group — Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, journalist Vikram Chandra and a few others.

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New Delhi, Oct 18 : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday served a show-cause notice on news broadcaster NDTV for allegedly flouting foreign exchange regulations in availing of overseas and foreign direct investment facilities of over Rs 4,300 crore.

In a statement, the financial probe agency said: “The investigation showed FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) contraventions relating to receipt of foreign direct investment by NDTV to the extent of Rs 1,637 crore and the other relating to overseas investments to the tune of RS 2,732 crore.”

The show-cause notice, issued under the FEMA, was issued to the founders and executive co-chairpersons of the group — Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, journalist Vikram Chandra and a few others.

THe ED also issued notice to Harpreet Singh Duggal of NGEN Media Services Pvt. Ltd, Anshuman Misra of Turner General Entertainment Networks India Pvt Ltd, Sameer Chandran Nair, who was earlier Director in NDTV Imagine Pictures Ltd and Alliance Lumiere Ltd, Grant Scott Ferguson of South Asia Creative Assets Ltd.

The financial probe agency said: “The investigation revealed that NDTV received FDI of Rs 725 crore and that only CCEA (Cabinet Commiittee on Economic Affairs) was competent to permit FDI in excess of Rs 600 crore.”

“In the case of NDTV no CCEA approval was taken,” it said, adding that the FDI was projected as below Rs 600 crore as part of “larger conspiracy”.

“While applying for FIPB Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval, NDTV projected FDI as varying between $130-160 million. Documents of FIPB section also projected FDI differently as Rs 585 crore ($130 million at Rs 45 per dollar).

“However, FDI finally received by NDTV was $163 million,” it said.

The ED also said that there were offences to the tune of Rs 1,378 crore in respect of delays in reporting and filing information with RBI (Reserve Bank of India) such as Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate, FCGPR, FCTRS etc. and delays in allotment of shares.

“Delays were also recorded in reporting and filing information with RBI such as ODA form, annual performance report etc. to the tune of Rs 2,286 crore,” it said.

It said that further, NDTV Imagine Ltd., then a subsidiary of NDTV Ltd. (now known as Turner General Entertainment Networks India Pvt. Ltd.), has also been charged with delays in filing and reporting information with RBI to the extent of Rs 853 crore.

NDTV Ltd’s another subsidiary — NGEN Media Services Pvt. Ltd., which has now been merged with Genpact India Ltd — has also been charged with delays in reporting and filing information with RBI to the extent of Rs 30.48 crore.

India

Why shall CBI’s appeal in 2G case be given priority over pending matters: Advocate to HC

He further argued that allowing the application for early hearing shall be against the interest of justice, as the respondents shall not get adequate opportunity as the records run into lakhs of pages.

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CBI Headquarters

New Delhi, Sep 21 : While the Delhi High Court on Monday was hearing an application seeking early hearing in the 2G spectrum case, the accused persons, including former Telecom Minister A. Raja, businessman Shahid Balwa and others, opposed the said application filed by the CBI and the ED.

When the matter was being heard by Justice Brijesh Sethi, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain informed the court that the matter is of public interest and since Justice Sethi is due to demit his office on November 30, the court may hear the matter expeditiously.

Responding to the arguments, the counsels appearing for the various accused persons opposed the plea moved by the agencies. Advocate Manu Sharma, appearing for A. Raja, argued that there was no reason to grant an out-of-turn, urgent hearing to the appeals moved by the CBI and the ED amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advocates Vijay Aggarwal, Mudit Jain and Ashul Agarwal, representing Shahid Balwa and several others, too opposed the said petition and stated that the CBI has not explained as to why the appeal filed by them should be given precedence/preference over other appeals.

“Why is the appeal so important and be given this much priority when there are several pending matters wherein the accused persons are languishing in jail,” Aggarwal argued.

He further argued that allowing the application for early hearing shall be against the interest of justice, as the respondents shall not get adequate opportunity as the records run into lakhs of pages.

“However, to address the arguments, each person will not even get 0.89 day to argue his or her case as the concerned judge is scheduled to demit his office. Justice hurried is justice burried,” Aggarwal said.

The court will now hear the matter on Tuesday.

The probe agencies, both CBI and ED, had moved the court in March 2018 challenging the trial court’s order which had acquitted all the accused persons in the 2G spectrum case. In 2017, a special CBI court acquitted all the 18 accused, including A. Raja and K. Kanimozhi.

The scam came to light almost seven years ago when the Comptroller and Auditor General in a report held then Telecom Minister A. Raja responsible for causing the state exchequer a loss of Rs 1,76,379 crore by allocating 2G spectrum licences at throwaway prices.

However, the trial court found that the prosecution failed to prove the charges. This verdict, however, didn’t override the Supreme Court judgement or take away from the fact that the licences issued during 2G spectrum allocation were illegal.

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India

Encounter on between terrorists, security forces in Kashmir’s Budgam

“Encounter has started at Charar-i-Sharief area of Budgam. Police and security forces are on the job,” police said.

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Jammu and Kashmir Shopian Indian Army

Srinagar, Sep 21 : An encounter is underway between terrorists and security forces at Charar-i-Sharief in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday, officials said.

The firefight took place after security forces cordoned off the area and launced a search operation on the basis of specific information about presence of terrorists. As the security forces zeroed in on the spot where terrorists were hiding they came under a heavy volume of fire that triggered the encounter.

“Encounter has started at Charar-i-Sharief area of Budgam. Police and security forces are on the job,” police said.

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India

PM Modi to address IIT Guwahati’s convocation on Tuesday

As many as 1,803 students including 687 B.Tech and 637 M. Tech students will be obtaining degrees.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Sep 21 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the convocation of IIT, Guwahati on Tuesday through video-conferencing.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, his deputy Sanjay Dhotre among others will also join in.

As many as 1,803 students including 687 B.Tech and 637 M. Tech students will be obtaining degrees.

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