Court Calls ED ‘Vengeful’, Tejashwi Says Agencies ‘Jamais’ Of BJP; For News Viewers, NDTV Buyout Spells Tunnel Vision Ahead
New CJI to face mountain of pending matters, banks taking buzz cuts as Pronab Sen predicts trouble, Pak rejects BrahMos case closure, unemployment biggest concern of Indians, sex ratio normalising
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
August 25, 2022
The Pegasus malware was found in 5 out of 29 devices, said the Supreme Court Constituted committee to investigate the matter but it said that the “government did not cooperate” with the enquiry. The Supreme Court bench comprising CJI N V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli made these remarks orally while accepting the committee’s report in a sealed envelope.
The Special Court in Mumbai yesterday called the Enforcement Directorate a “whimsical” and “vengeful” complainant in a money laundering case. Out of court, Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said the ED, IT and CBI the three “jamais” or sons-in-law of the BJP, sent after its political opponents. The central agencies went after BJP’s opponents in Bihar and Jharkhand yesterday.
India slashed crude imports from the US by 1 million metric tonnes (mt) in the June quarter of FY23 and increased imports of discounted crude from Russia. While the share of US imports was 9.2% in FY22, in the first quarter of FY23 (Apr-June), it declined to 5.4%. Russia’s share rose from 2.2% to 12.9%.
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is a ‘Maharatna’ (most valuable jewel) public sector undertaking. A PSU gets Maharatna status when it logs over Rs 5,000 crore in net profit for three consecutive years on an average annual turnover of Rs. 25,000 crore, or has an average annual net worth of Rs 15,000 crore for three years. ONGC is so large and so valuable that it owns another Maharatna PSU, HPCL, and two ‘miniratna’ PSUs. Astonishingly, the government, ONGC’s principal owner with a 58.9% direct stake and a further 10.7% through state-owned financial institutions, has been unable to find a full-time head to manage it in more than 17 months.
India may give incentives to exporters settling trades in rupees to boost the acceptability of the currency and increase sales to Russia, which are down because of Western sanctions. The move follows the RBI putting in place a rupee settlement mechanism last month. Indian companies are already abandoning the dollar and euro for Asian currencies to settle trades to avoid Western sanctions on Russia.
Indian banking faces a “massive asset-liability mismatch” that could explode anytime, renowned economist and former Chief Statistician of India Pronab Sen said, adding that there is a need to reassess laws governing the industry. Sen said the “explosion” has not yet happened because most of the banks are in the public sector. He said the Indian banks had adopted the British model, and the laws don't allow lenders to borrow from the capital market, which essentially makes deposits the only source of funds.
Banks are taking disproportionately large haircuts, losing on average Rs 69 for every Rs 100 claimed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, latest IBBI data showed. Till June 30, creditors had realised Rs 2.35 lakh crore out of Rs 7.67 lakh crore claimed through resolution plans in 517. Insolvency law experts say that such close haircuts call for urgent regulatory changes to introduce benchmarks.
A Chinese military commander injured in the Galwan Valley clash with Indian troops in 2020 has been elected a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) delegate to the upcoming twice-a-decade Communist Party of China (CPC) national congress, to be held at the end of October or early November. Qi Fabao, who was Xinjiang military region commander during the clash, was named among 304 delegates from the PLA and People’s Armed Police Force for the upcoming Congress. The rare honour is probably the CPC leadership’s way of portraying him as a hero, while border tensions persist. In February, Qi was a torchbearer at the Beijing Winter Olympics, evoking a strong reaction from India.
India has not only called for respecting the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan but also emphasised avoiding meddling in the internal affairs of the conflict-ravaged country currently ruled by the Taliban. New Delhi stressed that Afghanistan’s territory must not be used to intimidate or carry out terror strikes on any other nation. It reiterated its call for all-party dialogue to set up an inclusive government. At yesterday’s meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tashkent, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan and sought non-interference in its internal affairs.
Pakistan has rejected India’s purported closure of the incident of the firing of a supersonic BrahMos missile into Pakistani territory on March 9 and reiterated its demand for a joint probe.
India and Japan will hold their second 2+2 dialogue of defence and foreign ministers in Tokyo on September 8 to take forward strategic cooperation in key areas such as joint exercises and defence manufacturing. The Japanese side has been pushing for the meet since the first quarter of this year. Kyodo quoted unnamed Japanese government officials saying that Modi plans to attend Abe’s state funeral in Tokyo next month.
The Enforcement Directorate yesterday carried out searches at 17 locations across four states as part of the agency’s investigation into allegations of laundering of funds generated from illegal mining in Jharkhand, but the discovery of two AK-47s in an almirah of a rented house in Ranchi was the highlight of the day. Hours later, the Jharkhand Police claimed that the rifles were theirs.
Scroll reports on Delhi Police linking Jahangirpuri violence to citizenship protests, which are being criminalised. It’s politics, say families of the accused. The police initially accused one Mohammad Ansar of instigating the Hanuman Jayanti violence. But its bizarre chargesheet has shifted focus to two others.
Around 1,900 private agency guards will take over non-core security roles at over 50 Indian airports, replacing CISF personnel to reduce costs. Around 3,000 CISF posts at airports have been abolished. CISF has 29,000 personnel deployed at 65 airports.
“Around the turn of the century, he had invested Rs 50 lakh in Hindi news channel India TV on the recommendation of Arun Jaitley. That gave Adani a 25% stake but he never kept track of the investment. The media was not on his radar, reports The Morning Context. Adani realised the importance of media in June 2021, when his stock prices tanked and the group’s market cap fell Rs 1.5 lakh crore in a week. Now, he has made a compelling bid for NDTV, but it remains to be seen if Prannoy and Radhika Roy are easily compelled. Foundingfuel.com says that it cannot raise its stake beyond 26% without the permission of NDTV’s promoters.
The RBI has lifted restrictions on American Express and allowed onboarding of new domestic customers on its card network. The central bank had imposed curbs for non-compliance with directions on Storage of Payment System Data effective May 1, 2021.
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