QBiz: CBI Files FIR Against Sugar Baron; ED to Trace NiMo’s Assets

Top business stories of the day.

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File image of Nirav Modi. 

1. CBI Files FIR Against Simbhaoli Sugars MD

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday registered a case against Simbhaoli Sugars Ltd and its top executives for causing a loss of Rs 109 crore to state-owned Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC).

In the first information report (FIR), the investigative agency named the company, which is one of India’s largest sugar makers, its chairman and managing director, chief executive officer, chief financial officer and directors for allegedly defrauding the bank.

The agency also conducted searches at eight locations, including one in Hapur in Uttar Pradesh, one in Noida, and six locations in Delhi. According to the FIR, the bank filed the complaint on 17 November.

(Source: Livemint)

2. Lawyer Says He Will Advise Nirav Modi Not To Return To India For Investigation

Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal seems confident the case against his client, accused in a fraud worth over Rs 11,000 crore, would not stand in a court of law for “even five minutes”.

Punjab National Bank’s claim that there were no records of letters of undertakings extended to Modi’s firms could be easily refuted, Aggarwal told BloombergQuint in an interview.

To say it is not in the books of the bank is an incorrect statement, absurd, which is not going to stand for even five minutes in the court of law.
Vijay Aggarwal, Nirav Modi’s Lawyer

Modi is accused of getting loans on the basis of fraudulent guarantees issued via the bank’s systems. Modi left India in January and his passport has been temporarily suspended.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

3. ED to Trace Assets of Nirav, Choksi From Over Dozen Countries

Widening its probe into the PNB fraud case, the Enforcement Directorate will soon send judicial requests to over a dozen countries for obtaining information about the overseas businesses and assets of diamantaire Nirav Modi and owner of Gitanjali Gems Mehul Choksi.

Official sources said the agency will approach a competent court in Mumbai with a request to obtain Letters Rogatories (LRs) to be sent to about 15-17 countries where the central investigation agency has traced the footsteps of the diamond and gold jewellery businesses of the firms owned by Modi, his uncle Choksi and others associated with them.

The countries where the LRs would be sent include Belgium, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Singapore and South Africa.

4. GDP Data, IIP Numbers to Steer Market in Truncated Week Ahead

After a series of failed attempts, the bulls managed to break the shackles of the bears and ended the last trading session of the week on a euphoric note.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed a good 323 points on Friday to close at 34,142, while the broader Nifty50 added 108 points, or 1 percent, to settle at 10,491.

Out of 50 Nifty constituents, 43 ended in the green and 7 in the red. On a weekly basis, the 30-pack BSE Sensex gained 0.38 percent while the Nifty added 0.37 per cent.
Going into the new week, macro numbers – including GDP data and IIP – will determine the market’s direction during the truncated week ahead, as markets will remain closed on Friday, 2 March, on account of Holi.

(Source: Economic Times)

5. Banks Rush to Tweak Internal Controls, Review HR Policies

Banks are scurrying to install systems to prevent frauds like the one that shook Punjab National Bank, after the central bank directed them to link their core banking systems (CBS) with inter-bank messaging platform SWIFT.

The scam at PNB went unnoticed for years, allegedly because unauthorized transactions were made on SWIFT, which was not linked to the bank’s CBS. SWIFT is short for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a worldwide messaging platform for banks.

Additional steps being taken by banks include instituting better security infrastructure, more frequent audits of internal controls, and review of human resources (HR) policies, including leaves and job rotations. Banks are also planning to put in place one-time password (OTP)-based system to log in to SWIFT, bankers said.

(Source: Livemint)

6. SEBI Asks HDFC Bank To Probe WhatsApp Earnings Leak

The market regulator, probing earnings circulated on messaging platform WhatsApp before official announcement, asked HDFC Bank Ltd to strengthen its controls to ensure price-sensitive information is not leaked.

Such leakage is prima facie attributable to the inadequacy of the processes, controls and systems that HDFC Bank as a listed company had put in place, the Securities and Exchange Board of India said in an order uploaded on its website.

The regulator asked India’s largest private bank to complete an internal investigation in three months to find out people responsible for leaking the numbers and take appropriate action against in accordance with law.

It found that the leaked numbers for the quarters ended December 2015 and June 2017 were close to the actual results. “...Financials including NPA figures pertaining to the quarterly results of HDFC Bank matched closely with the figures that were in circulation prior to its official announcement by HDFC Bank,” SEBI order said.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

7. 70% IGST Refund Stuck Due To Flawed Claims Filed By Exporters

As about 70 percent of GST refunds stuck due to flawed information, the CBEC has asked exporters to amend the details in the final returns of subsequent month to enable the department to process the refund claims by March.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has sanctioned Rs 4,000 crore worth refunds to exporters in 4 months since October. Still about Rs 10,000 crore worth claims are stuck due to discrepancies in the information furnished by exporters to GST Network (GSTN) in filing GSTR 1 or Table 6A or GSTR 3B and shipping bill filed with Customs.

(Source: PTI)

8. Idea-Vodafone Building War Chest to Take on Rivals

Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian unit, which are set to merge to create India’s largest telecom operator, will invest Rs 60,000 crore in infrastructure to meet surging demand for data, according to a person aware of the matter.

The companies expect demand to surge sixfold to more than 120 petabytes a day in the near term from around 20 petabytes now, this person said, requesting anonymity.

Idea and Vodafone India Ltd, the nation’s second- and third-largest mobile operators, are building a war chest as intense competition in the world’s No. 2 telecom market by users makes it critical for them to spend on strengthening infrastructure to cater to rising demand for data.

(Source: Livemint)

9. Retaining Air India Employees Will Diminish Its Bid Value

The bid value of Air India will fall if the government asks buyers to keep the airline's employees on payroll, according to Turkish firm Celebi, which has expressed interest in buying a subsidiary of the disinvestment-bound national carrier.

Celebi, which offers ground-handling services, had written to the ministry of civil aviation last year expressing interest in the national carrier's ground-handling subsidiary, the Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL).

Celebi's expression of interest came months after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the disinvestment of the national carrier and appointed a group of ministers to chalk out a strategy for the stake sale.

(Source: PTI)

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