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Was a big secret of demonetisation shared with friends in advance?

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Modi jaitely

New Delhi, November 19: The aftershocks of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes are here to stay for at least six months, says economists. For India is cashless.

As long as there are limitations being set by the Narendra Modi led government on cash transactions, eruption in demand of goods is bound to affect the economy.

The central government’s demonetisation drive is projected by the Prime Minister Narendra Modias as a mission to combat supply of black money and corruption. PM as well as his clan of ministers, have emphasised on the secrecy and preparedness of government for this surgical strike on currency well in advance.

Now the big question is: Will demonetisation curb black money and weed out corruption? Was the mission to ban currency was a big secret?

Eyebrows are raised on SECRECY part as India is primarily a cash economy and 78 % of transactions in India are held with cash. Indians are cashless. Businesses are at standstill. Weddings are canceled. Supreme court has directed government to look at issues of people and called it a crisis like situation for the nation.

Read More: Stories of Demonetisation Chaos 

Amid all this chaos, here are two pertinent questions that spark the controversy — was a big secret of demonetisation shared with friends in advance?

  1. Why was a record spike noted in bank deposits in the July-September?

As per Firstpost, There has been an increase of close to Rs 6 lakh crore in bank deposits in the three months leading up to September — the highest ever recorded quarterly jump in the past 19 years.

Now banks have been reporting a negative growth in deposits, and the economy was in a standstill phase from quite some time. A sudden splurge of deposits in the previous months of demonetisation can not be ignored.

The government of India owes an explanation on a sudden increase in bank deposits in July-September quarter, just before the currency ban.

Former DGM with the State Bank of India Naresh Malhotra also noted that “Certainly, there is an issue here as to what is the source of these deposits. There needs to be an explanation from the RBI.”

While when CNBC-TV18, first reported the spike in bank deposits, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tried to down play the issue. He said it was because of the payment of arrears in the Seventh Pay Commission. The payments may have been channeled into the bank accounts showing the surge.

But Jaitely faux played whole thing. As, total of these arrears which were Rs 70,000 crore along with other inflows plus subsidies can not surpass Rs 1,50,000 crore, forget the figure of 6,00,000 crore in question here.

At the time when not much of the economic activity is seen, there is no rise in employment or wage increase in the private sector, no fresh private investments or savings with corporations and individuals, lowering foreign remittances, such a spike in bank deposits is a big question.

  1. How come RBI Governor Urjit Patel’s signature appears on the new note?

Next question talks about common sense. Well our ministers revealed that printing of new denomination notes began in August-September. New RBI governor Urjit Patel took over the office on September 5. Now how did Urjit patel’s signature appear on the new Rs 2,000, and Rs 500 notes.

Is it possible that Patel’s signature could be used in currency notes while Raghuram Rajan was serving the office? Or, the government just started printing notes in September and the claim is a false one to boast off its preparedness in advance.

The mob, rush at banks and ATMs and seeking time for ATM caliberation as the new note did not fit the machine were enough to embarrass the government over its decision.

Besides stories of snarling queues at banks and ATMs, deaths due to stress or cash crunch, cash unavailability at banks have become a daily affair since demonetisation took place. across Had the government put in some efforts in finding out reactions of post currency strike, there would have been lesser suffering and chaos everywhere.

Wefornews Bureau

India

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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