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Govt cancelled 2.24 lakh suspected shell firms after note ban

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Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Nov 5: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Sunday said it struck off around 2.24 lakh companies for remaining inactive for a period of two years or more. 

Apart from this government also disqualified around  3.09 lakh Directors, who were on the Board of Companies that have failed to file Financial Statements and/or Annual Returns for a continuous period of three (3) financial years during 2013-14 to 2015-16.

Following the decision of  striking-off defaulting companies, restrictions have been imposed on operation of their bank accounts in accordance with the law.

“A Preliminary Enquiry on the basis of information received from 56 banks in respect of 35,000 companies involving 58,000 accounts has revealed that an amount of over Rs. 17,000 crore was deposited and withdrawn after demonetization. In one case, a company which had a negative Opening Balance on 8th November, 2016, deposited and withdrew Rs.2,484 crore post-demonetization” the official press release said.

“Apart from the restrictions on bank accounts, action has also been taken to restrict sale and transfer of moveable and immoveable properties of struck-off companies until they are restored. The State Governments have been advised to take necessary action in this regard by disallowing registration of such transactions”, it added.

In one particular account, the MCA said, an account which had a negative balance on 8 November, deposited and withdrew Rs 2,484 crore post note ban.Another company was found to have as many as 2,134 accounts.

However, the action is a part of the special drive conducted by a special task force constituted by the Prime Minister’s Office under the joint chairmanship of revenue secretary and secretary, corporate affairs. The task force was in-charge of chalking out the drive against such defaulting companies with the help of various enforcement agencies.

Besides this, in a separate action the MCA more than 3.09 lakh board of directors were disqualified for their companies failing to file financial statements and/or annual reports for a continuous period of three financial years during  2013-14 to 2015-16, necessary under the Companies Act 2013.

According to Preliminary enquiry over 3,000 disqualified Directors are Directors in more than 20 companies each, which is beyond the limit prescribed under the Law.

“Further, in the light of the evidence with respect to abuse of the Corporate Structure through multi-layering, not more than two (2) layers are now permitted beyond the wholly owned subsidiary. This is in addition to the existing restriction which prohibits a company to make investment through more than two layers of investment companies”, MCA statement asserted.

In a bid to address the criminality angle, the Director, Additional Director or Assistant Director of SFIO have been recently authorized to arrest any person believed to be guilty of any fraud punishable under the Act. Under Section 447 of the Act, which defines fraud, stringent punishment including imprisonment up to 10 years is stipulated. Further, reference has been made to the Ministry of Finance to include it as a Scheduled Offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. it further added.

The Ministry claimed that it has taken several actions to demolish the practice of dummy directors including seeding Director Identification Number (DIN) with permanent account number (PAN) and Aadhaar at the time of DIN application through biometric matching for new applications.

Wefornews Bureau

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Key Indian equity indices open in green

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SENSEX-

Mumbai, June 21: Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened higher.

The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 35,547.33 points on Wednesday, opened higher at 35,644.05 points.

Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 35,631.42 points, up by 84.09 points, or 0.24 per cent.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 51-scrip Nifty, which had closed at 10,772.05 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 10,798.80 points, up by 26.75 points or 0.25 per cent.

Broadly positive global cues had lifted the key Indian equity indices on Wednesday and according to analysts, banking, metal and auto stocks witnessed healthy buying activity.

The Sensex was up by 260.59 points or 0.74 per cent at the Wednesday’s closing. In the day’s trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 35,571.37 points and a low of 35,329.51 points. The Nifty, too, was up by 61.60 points or 0.58 per cent.

On Thursday, Asian indices were showing mixed trend. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was quoting in green, up by 0.79 per cent, while Hang Seng was down by 0.07 per cent, and South Korea’s Kospi was down by 0.29 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite index was trading in green, up by 0.40 per cent.

Overnight, Nasdaq closed in green, up by 0.72 per cent while FTSE 100 was also up by 0.31 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.

IANS

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AI’s 76% stake sale plan crashes, other alternatives to be evaluated

We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate.

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Civil Aviation Ministry

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Central government has said that a 76 per cent stake sale process of the national carrier Air India has ended, as “no interest” was shown by bidders, however, it remains committed to the strategic divestment for which other alternatives will be evaluated.

“We ran a disinvestment process, where we made it very clear what type of bids we were interested in receiving… We asked certain type of bidders with certain bidding criteria to participate,” said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

“No body expressed any interest during that process. So just by that set of those circumstances it is clear that that process right now is over… We have to move forward and we have to consider other alternatives, now as market conditions as industry circumstances change, we will evaluate all those alternatives but that particular specific process for the moment has come to an end, if need be, we can restart that or any other process depending upon the appropriate market circumstances.”

However, the government clearly stated that it is still committed to the idea of Air India’s strategic divestment.

Sinha added: “The government is committed to strategic disinvestment, what the modalities are and the circumstances are, we will have to monitor and evaluate as we go along.”

According to the Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu a few days back the Empowered Group of Ministers set up to look at the — Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism — reviewed the situation.

The minister, who holds the charge of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: “… Because there was no interest we have decided to review the situation soon. In the meantime to ensure that Air India runs properly a plan is being prepared by the Air India management to ensure that AI continues continues operate efficiently.

On May 31, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that “no response” was received even during the extended submission deadline for the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) bids under Air India’s divestment process.

“As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India,” the ministry had said in a tweet.

“Further course of action will be decided appropriately.”

The government on May 1 had released a detailed document on clarifications sought by interested bidders regarding the divestment process.

The clarification document outlined that net current liabilities as Rs 88.16 billion (Rs 8,816 crore) and “these will remain with AI and AIXL (Air India Express) as these have been incurred in the course of business.”

“After deducting Rs 88,160 mn from Rs 333,920 mn, the remaining figure of INR 245,760 mn is the debt and liability quantum that will remain with AI and AIXL.”

As per the old timelines, the submission deadline for the EOI bids was earlier extended to May 31 and consequently, the date for the “intimation to the Qualified Interested Bidders” — QIB — which was supposed to have been the next stage was slated for June 15.

It was expected that by August-end, the government will be able to determine the highest bidder.

On March 28, the government had issued a Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) inviting ‘EOI’ for the strategic divestment of AI, along with the airline’s shares in AIXL and AISATS (Air India SATS Airport Services) from private entities including the airline’s employees.

The Central government owns 100 per cent equity of Air India. In turn, the airline holds full stake in Air India Express, while it holds 50 per cent stake in the joint venture AISATS.

Accordingly, it has been planned to divest 76 per cent government stake in AI, 100 per cent in AIXL and 50 per cent in AISATS.

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Global cues lift equity indices; Sensex ends over 200 points higher

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Sensex

Mumbai, June 20: Broadly positive global cues lifted the key Indian equity indices on Wednesday, with the barometer Sensex of the BSE closing with gains of more than 200 points.

According to analysts, banking, metal and auto stocks witnessed healthy buying activity.

At 3.30 p.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) provisionally closed at 10,772.05 points, up 61.60 points or 0.58 per cent from the previous close of 10,710.45 points.

Similarly, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex, which had opened at 35,329.61 points, closed at 35,547.33 points (3.30 p.m.) — up 260.59 points or 0.74 per cent — from its previous session’s close of 35,286.74 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 35,571.37 points and a low of 35,329.51 points.

The top gainers on the Sensex were Reliance Industries, IndusInd Bank, Vedanta, Tata Steel and Yes Bank whereas ONGC, Coal India, ITC, Wipro and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) were the major losers.

On the NSE, Reliance Industries, IndusInd Bank and Tata Steel were the highest gainers while UPL, Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil Corp lost the most.

IANS

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