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SC asks government if separate SIT needed to probe Panama papers

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New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central government to consider whether there was a necessity to set up a separate SIT to investigate the Panama Papers, currently being probed by a Multi-Agency Group (MAG).

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar gave the government four weeks time to respond whether there was necessity of setting up a SIT to probe Panama Papers naming a number of Indian nationals having off-shore accounts.

The court’s order came after the government submitted six reports on investigation by the MAG in a sealed cover. Having perused the reports, the court directed the same be kept back in the sealed cover.

The MAG that was constituted to investigate Panama papers consists of officials of the Central Board Of Direct Taxes, the Reserve Bank of India, the Enforcement Directorate and Financial Intelligence Unit. The CBDT’s Member (Investigation) is its convenor.

The MAG, also known as SIT on black money, was set up to investigate and bring the money stashed overseas and is headed by former apex court judge Justice M.B.Shah as Chairman and another former top court judge Justice Arijit Pasayat is its Vice-Chairman.

In the last hearing of the matter on March 7, the court had asked the government to file all the six reports in a sealed cover.

The court had said that after perusing the reports, it would consider whether there would be a necessity of a separate SIT to look into these issues and for a fair and appropriate inquiry so that necessary action could be taken against those who had violated the law.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on July 2, as Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha told the court that the investigation was on and it was going on a fast pace.

The top court had on May 9, 2016, issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation ona PIL seeking probe against the people named in the Panama Papers.

India

Indian Navy day: Focus on safeguarding sea lanes to boost trade

Stressing jointness, he said that The Navy’s P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and Heron unmanned aerial vehicles had been deployed in the Ladakh sector bordering China following requests from the Army and Air Force.

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Indian Navy day

New Delhi: The Indian Navy will play a key role in Indias drive to become a $5-trillion economy, with a fleet of three aircraft carriers, submarines, aircraft and drones to ensure that sea lanes for trade are always secure.

Speaking ahead of Navy day on Friday, Navy Chief Karambir Singh made a strong pitch during a press conference for a third aircraft carrier to secure trade and commerce in the Indo-Pacific region.

“If you want to be a $5-trillion economy… you will have to go outwards. The Navy does not want to be tethered to the shore. For that, aircraft carriers are absolutely essential,” Admiral Singh observed, pointing out that without exercising carrier-based sea control, a rising India’s trade lifelines cannot be safeguarded.

The navy chief noted that China’s assertiveness had “significantly increased the complexities in the security situation”, but Beijing’s forays in the Indian Ocean so far had not disturbed the naval balance of power in these waters. He pointed out that Chinese fishing and research vessels were operating in the Indian Ocean, but none of them has violated India’s maritime boundaries. Only three warships of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) have been present in the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean region for anti-piracy operations since 2008.

However, analysts point out that the navy’s responsibilities were likely to surge in the coming days, as military tensions between India and China rise. Analysts point out that the navy can leverage its dominance over the 10 degree and six-degree channels in the Andaman sea, which is used by Chinese commercial ships for trade. India’s growing relationship with the Indo-Pacific Quad, comprising India, the United States, Australia and Japan can be a factor in beefing up the Navy’s heft along these channels at the gates of the Malacca straits-the point of entry for international shipping, including that of China, into the South China Sea and the broader Pacific Ocean.

The navy chief also stressed that the force was engaged in bolstering its aviation arm, with an eye of using its assets, wherever possible, with its sister services.

Stressing jointness, he said that The Navy’s P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and Heron unmanned aerial vehicles had been deployed in the Ladakh sector bordering China following requests from the Army and Air Force.

“Air operations are integral to naval operations. Air power at sea is required here and now. The Navy is all about reach and sustenance,”Singh said. He pointed out that the Navy is working with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to build a multi-role carrier-based combat jet to replace the existing fleer of MiG-29 K.

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63 moons to challenge SEBI order on STP Gate Services

63 moons said it has always had the utmost faith in the judiciary and will be taking appropriate legal action in the higher judiciary forum.

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SEBI

New Delhi: 63 moons technologies on Friday said it would challenge the SEBI order, which rejected its renewal application for providing STP Gate Services, and take appropriate legal action in the higher judiciary forum.

Expressing disbelief at the SEBI order rejecting the approval for providing STP Gate Services on the basis of ‘Fit & Proper’ order passed by FMC seven years ago, the company said the Fit and Proper order passed against 63 moons in 2014 specifically deals with barring persons or entities from holding an equity stake in any exchange platform and has no bearing on providing technology services.

In an order passed by the SEBI last night, the application for renewal (for the period June 30, 2016 to June 29, 2019) by 63 moons technologies, earlier known as Financial Technologies India Limited, to act as STP Service provider under the SEBI (STP Centralised Hub and STP Service Providers) Guidelines, 2004 has been rejected. It held that 63 Moons has been providing the STP services to brokers, custodians, and fund houses without the approval of SEBI.

63 moons said it has been almost seven years since the order of Fit and Proper has been passed and has already been challenged by 63 moons in the court of law. “The matter is, therefore, sub judice.”

The latest order of SEBI is with regards to STP gate service only and it has nothing to do with any other technology services by the group, it added.

Notably, since 2003 till date, 63 moons technology has been the pioneer and market leader as well as most stable and credible technology service provider for all segments of the market. While it holds more than 75 per cent market share in all segments including its service offerings to MCX and MSEI, it has the distinction of having 97 per cent market share in STP gate.

In the backdrop of NSE withdrawing its trading platform ‘NOW’, 63 moons’ ODIN remains the best solution available across multiple asset classes in the market. In this condition, the company said, the intention of SEBI’s present order is unexplainable.

SEBI coming out with such an order after over seven years, especially when the issue of Fit & Proper is still sub-judice will be disturbing the smooth functioning of the market. The timing and intent of the SEBI order is totally in contradiction to the purpose for which SEBI exists for fair and transparent regulation and growth and stability of the market.

In a statement, the company said the management of 63 moons is completely professional, having eminent administrators, judges, bankers among others on its board. “It is being run with a high standard of governance as envisaged in the rule book. The allegation of undue influence of the promoter is unfounded and is to be dismissed,” it added.

63 moons said it has always had the utmost faith in the judiciary and will be taking appropriate legal action in the higher judiciary forum.

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RBI to come up with guidelines for dividend distribution by NBFCs

RBI has decided to carry out consultation with stakeholders before finalising the revised regulatory framework.

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Reserve Bank of India RBI

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to come out with guidelines for dividend distribution by NBFCs.

Unlike banks, currently there are no guidelines in place with regard to distribution of dividend by NBFCs.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday announced that keeping in view the increasing significance of NBFCs in the financial system and their interlinkages with different segments, it has been decided to formulate guidelines on dividend distribution by NBFCs.

Different categories of NBFCs would be allowed to declare dividend as per a matrix of parameters, subject to a set of generic conditions.

A draft circular in this regard will be issued shortly for public comments.

He further said that the contribution of NBFCs as a supplemental channel of credit intermediation alongside banks is well recognised.

Regulatory regime governing the NBFC sector is built on the principle of proportionality such that adequate operational flexibility is available to the sector through calibrated regulatory measures.

However, there are rapid developments in the last few years, which have led to significant increase in size and interconnectedness of the NBFC sector.

“There is, therefore, a need to review the regulatory framework in line with the changing risk profile of NBFCs. It is felt that a scale-based regulatory approach linked to the systemic risk contribution of NBFCs could be the way forward,” said the RBI’s statement on developmental and regulatory policies.

RBI has decided to carry out consultation with stakeholders before finalising the revised regulatory framework.

A discussion paper in this regard will be issued before January 15, 2021 for public comments.

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