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Flamboyant liquor baron’s homes and offices raided by CBI

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NEW DELHI/INDIA, 17NOV08 - Vijay Mallya, Chairman, UB Group, India, participates in a panel discussion on tourism at the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2008 in New Delhi, 16-18 November 2008. Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)/Photo by Dana Smillie

NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi:  The CBI raided residences  and offices of liquor baron Vijay Mallya including Kingfisher Airlines on Saturday in connection with a Rs900 crore loan to the airline by IDBI bank. The airlines has been declared a non-performing asset (NPA).

The raids were conducted at five places – at offices of Kingfisher Airlines and at the residences of Mallya and others in Bengaluru, Mumbai and near Panaji, revealed Central Bureau of Investigation officials (CBI).

A CBI spokesman in New Delhi said that that the raids were still on at five places of Mallya’s offices and residences in Mumbai, Bengaluru and near Panaji in a case of allegedly violating banking norms in sanction and disbursement of Rs.900 crore to Kingfisher Airlines.

In Goa, a CBI team from Mumbai raided the Kingfisher Villa, Mallya’s expansive property in the tony Candolim beach area, located 15 km from Panaji.

The CBI had registered the case against Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines chief finance officer A Raghunathan and unknown officials of the IDBI for allegedly violating banking norms in sanctions and disbursement of credit limit of over Rs.900 crore.

The loan was advanced by the IDBI bank despite the fact that there was uncertainty about huge loans earlier extended by a consortium of banks to the airlines being paid.

Some of the banks in the consortium have already declared Mallya as a “wilful defaulter”.

Sources said what raised suspicion was the fact that it was the first exposure of the Kingfisher to the bank and the big loan was granted despite negative rating and net worth of the airlines.

While registering the preliminary enquiry in 2014 into the questionable sanction of loan by IDBI, the CBI had said, “there was no need for the bank to take the exposure outside the consortium when already other banks loans were getting stressed.”

A string of Indian banks have an exposure of nearly Rs.7,000 crore in loans to the airline, with the State Bank of India leading with Rs.1,600 crore.

A consortium of 17-state-owned financial lenders led by SBI was formed to recover the money from the airline company.

Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines was virtually grounded on October 1, 2012 as the passenger carrier cancelled all 50 flights after a section of its employees went on strike leaving thousands stranded. It lost its operator’s licence on October 20, 2012.

The Kolkata-headquartered United Bank of India (UBI), which was owed Rs.400 crore by Kingfisher, first declared Mallya a wilful defaulter in May 2014. But Mallya’s lawyers managed to convince the Calcutta High Court in December that the process of declaring him so was faulty.

However after apex bank Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the ambit of the term “wilful” defaulter to include not only the primary defaulting entity, but also the guarantors of its loans, and individuals on the boards of companies declared to be in wilful default, Mallya was again declared a wilful defaulter this year.

Mallya owns a ‘Hollywood’ style Kingfisher Villa at Candolim in Goa. Another prime property is Kingfisher House, measuring 17,000 square feet in Mumbai’s suburban Andheri locality. Reportedly, the property was originally hypothecated to Punjab National Bank in 2010.

(With inputs from IANS)

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For Cheating, ‘Herbal fuel’ Inventor Ramar Pillai along with 4 others get 3 Years Jail in Chennai

The CBI said the "herbal fuel" was only a mixture of petroleum products which was prohibited and Pillai misrepresented the fact and sold it through various sales outlets

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Motorbike, Youtube

Chennai, October 15, 2016: A local court here has convicted Ramar Pillai, who came into the limelight for developing an “herbal fuel” and four others of cheating and sentenced them to three years rigorous imprisonment for cheating, the CBI said on Friday.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs 6,000 each on all.

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According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Pillai had, in 1999 and 2000, colluded with other persons to illegally mix petroleum products like toluene, naphtha and others and market the product as ‘Ramar Petrol’ or “Ramar Tamildevi Mooligai Eriporul”, claiming that it was an herbal extract that could be used in automobiles as a fuel.

The CBI said the “herbal fuel” was only a mixture of petroleum products which was prohibited and Pillai misrepresented the fact and sold it through various sales outlets.

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Pillai also cheated the outlet owners by collecting huge amount as deposits and fuel costs and in the process, he and his associates gained Rs.2.27 crore by cheating the public, it said.

The verdict and sentencing came on Thursday, said the CBI. (IANS)

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SC receives Rs 4000 crore repayment plan from Mallya

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Representational file photo, Courtesy- wikimedia commons

New Delhi: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday submitted Rs 4,000 crore repayment plan to Supreme court. Mallya also told the SC that he had two rounds of video conferencing with banks adding that he will repay the amount by September 2016.

SC has allowed the consortium of banks to respond within a week’s time to the proposal and posted the matter for hearing on April 7.Meanwhile the banks have told the apex court that they need time to look at Mallya’s repayment proposal.

Vijay Mallya’s Counsel said negotiations with banks are on but media is exaggerating the issue, therefore proposal should be kept sealed. Justice Kurien, however, observed ‘media ultimately stands for public interest’.

In a stern warning to wilful defaulters like Vijay Mallya, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley couple of days ago said they should settle their dues honourably with the banks or else be ready to face “coercive action” by lenders and investigative agencies.

He further said that banks have certain collaterals of group companies of Vijay Mallya and will take legal action to recover dues that are in excess of Rs 9,000 crore.

Mallya, promoter of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had left India on March 2, presumably for London, days before the Supreme Court heard a plea of clutch of state-owned banks seeking recovery from his group firms.

Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs 7,800 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank, which had an exposure of over Rs 1,600 crore to the now defunct airline.

Other banks that have exposure to the airline include Punjab National Bank and IDBI Bank (Rs 800 crore each), Bank of India (Rs 650 crore), Bank of Baroda (Rs 550 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs 410 crore).

UCO Bank has to recover Rs 320 crore, Corporation Bank (Rs 310 crore), State Bank of Mysore, (Rs 150 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 140 crore), Federal Bank (Rs 90 crore), Punjab & Sind Bank (Rs 60 crore) and Axis Bank (Rs 50 crore).

Credits: Zee news

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Chhota Rajan return and over hyped media coverage

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New Delhi: A heavy contingent of mediamen remained deployed outside the Air Force Station in Palam since Thursday evening as if to welcome somebody who would usher in a paradigm change in India.

The overnight wait ended when India’s most wanted don Chhota Rajan landed at the airport. And the news pandemonium began.

With media houses who claim to be “your channel”, “aap ki awaz”, “people’s voice” reiterating what Chhota Rajan eats and where he goes, it may be time to question their media ethics.

Is it newsworthy to focus on his diet when countless Indians go hungry? Or is Chhota Rajan the primary security concern of the nation now?

At 2 PM on Friday, media channels reported, “Rajan is healthy”. Is it justified to spend crores of money to air Chota Rajan’s health status?

However, all media channels failed to establish whether Rajan was arrested or he surrendered. An exclusive video coverage had Rajan and other press cameramen in the same frame.

The media channels also raked up controversies such as the Mumbai Police being “irked” as the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Strangely, even the Sheena Bora case was dragged in while airing the Chhota Rajan case. The modus operandi of catering news shows that the media houses lack actionable content and do anything for catching the eyeballs.

The reckless reporting by media houses has pointed to a probable India-Pak war. Channels opined that India would use Chhota Rajan as an “asset” to catch Dawood Ibrahim who is backed by Pakistan’s ISI. Can the channels afford to touch on such sensitive issues?

The media hype escalated to such heights that it eclipsed the exit-poll on the Bihar election. Even the PM’s address did not create much of a flutter.

Instead of focusing on the success of the intelligence agencies, the channels kept on parroting what Rajan did in his childhood and aired documentaries on his meteoric rise.

This testifies to the fact that media channels are gradually losing their focus of catering news and making content to appease people. Instead of educating or informing the news-hungry masses, media houses keep on sensationalizing the news.

However, the channels failed to laud the heroics of the team that made the operation successful. Instead, they kept making Rajan a hero and glorifying his journey.

Calling Rajan a ‘patriotic don’ is just uncalled for.

(Picture courtesy: www.behind2ndlook.wordpress.com)