Nirav Modi. (File Photo: IANS)
In a major setback to fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, a UK court on Monday again rejected his bail plea – for the seventh time.
According to CBI officials, prior to this, the bail applications of Nirav Modi has been rejected six times, four by the District Judge and twice by the High Court.
The District Judge rejected Nirav Modi’s bail plea on March 20, March 29, May 8 and November 6 last year while the UK High Court rejected Nirav Modi’s bail plea on June 12, 2018 and March 5 this year.
Nirav Modi, who is wanted in India by Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case and has been at London’s Wandsworth Prison since his arrest on last year, will appear before a court next month, via video-link, for the second phase of his extradition trial.
Last month, the UK court has extended the remand of the diamantaire till the next scheduled hearing in his ongoing extradition trial on November 3.
Nirav Modi, who is being investigated by CBI for causing loss to the tune of Rs 6,498 crore to PNB is also facing additional charges of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or “criminal intimidation to cause death”.
The CBI and ED, seeking Nirav Modi’s extradition to India, are being represented by the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK. The fugitive businessman has applied for political asylum in UK.
A CBI official in Delhi, wishing not to be named, said that repeated rejection of bail pleas of Nirav Modi is a result of excellent coordination between the CBI, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Crown Prosecution Service.
In July this year, the ED confiscated the fugitive diamantaire’s properties worth Rs 329.66 crore in Mumbai, Rajasthan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK. The movable and immovable assets were seized under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
The assets included four flats at Samudra Mahal, the iconic building in south Mumbai’s Worli, a seaside farm house and land in Alibaug, a wind mill in Jaisalmer, a flat in London, some flats in the UAE, shares and bank deposits. On December 5, 2019, the court declared him a fugitive economic offender.
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of the Geetanjali Group are being investigated by the two agencies after the PNB alleged that they cheated it of Rs 13,500 crore with the involvement of some bank employees.
The ED has filed a charge sheet against Choksi in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act Court in Mumbai.
India is currently making efforts to extradite Nirav Modi from the UK and his uncle Choksi from Antigua and Barbuda where he is now a citizen.
Equities settle high after crash on Monday; Sensex up over 350 pts
After a bloodbath in the Indian equity segment on Monday due to continued selling-off pressure by foreign institutional investors, the market on Tuesday recovered its losses, though marginally.
Sensex settled 0.6 per cent or by 366 points higher at 57,858 points, whereas Nifty is 0.8 per cent up or by 128 at 17,277 points.
Barring Nifty IT index, all the others traded in the green during the intra-day trade. Nifty bank, auto, media, PSU bank, and realty indices rose the most, NSE data showed.
On the stocks front, Maruti Suzuki India, Axis Bank, SBI, Indusind Bank, and UPL were the top five gainers, rising 7.4 per cent, 6.5 per cent, 3.9 per cent, 3.6 per cent, and 3.5 per cent, respectively. Wipro, Bajaj Finserv, Titan, Ultratech Cement, Tech Mahindra were the top five losers during the session.
“After a week-long consolidation, domestic indices took a breather supported by low-level buying. Western markets also supported staging recovery following correction in oil markets, and as uncertainties over Fed policy and geopolitical tensions eased,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
“However, volatility is expected to linger as investors await the Fed’s final policy statement, providing clarity on the timeline of rate hikes. If the statement is as hawkish as anticipated, we cannot ignore a bounce in the market.”
Budget 2022: Increase in custom duty on Aluminium scrap from 2.5 to 10% is key expectation
As the Indian economy pushes forward to grow at 9 per cent and above over the next few years, a key challenge for the country would be to rebalance its energy needs in favour of renewable sources by 2030 to 50 per cent as per the Paris agreement.
This is where the Aluminium sector will play a greater than ever before role. Extensive growth in electric vehicles, renewables, modern infrastructure, energy efficient consumer goods and greater dependence on strategic sectors such as aerospace and defence, will drive Aluminium consumption to grow at CAGR of 10 per cent or more. For example, Aluminium usage in EV battery is 40-50 per cent more than a normal ICE. Being 3 times lighter than steel it aids in fuel efficiency making it an efficient choice for EVs.
However, the Indian aluminium industry is struggling to revive itself over the last two years following the unprecedented Covid pandemic. The declining domestic producers market share with surging imports coupled with significant cost escalation for primary producers due to a rise in input costs of critical raw materials, escalating ocean freights & logistics costs due to container shortage, current coal crunch situation etc, is restricting the industry’s ability to support the future of the country at a time when India cannot rely on import sources alone to fuel this growth.
To give relief to the sector, there is a need for urgently looking at the duty structure. The basic custom duty on Aluminium and Aluminium scrap is not in line with other non-ferrous metals like Zink, lead, nickel and tin which is a huge disadvantage for domestic Aluminium producers. The industry expects increase in tariff rate of basic custom duty or peak custom duty rate from existing 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Currently custom duty on Primary Aluminium is 7.5 per cent, Downstream Aluminium is 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent and Aluminium scrap is only 2.5 per cent. This is the reason why despite having significant presence of primary Aluminium capacity and potential to generate sufficient domestic scrap, India’s consumption of scrap is 100 per cent import dependent. The way forward is to increase custom duty on Aluminium srap from 2.5 to 10 per cent.
Primary aluminium industry is facing severe threat from the increasing import of Aluminium scrap. The share of scrap in total imports increased from 52 per cent in FY-16 to 66 per cent in FY-21. resulting in Forex Outgo of $2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore).
What is also affecting the Indian industry is China’s renewed measures to restrict Scrap imports through National Sword Policy, which is leading to greater inflow of scrap into India. China imposed 25 per cent duty on Aluminium Scrap imports from USA, and classified Aluminium Scrap in restricted import list from July, 2019, with plan to completely ban all scrap and waste imports. Post that the share of import from the US in China’s total Aluminium scrap imports has declined from 53 per cent in 2017 to just 16 per cent in 2019. India has overtaken China as world’s largest aluminium scrap importer due to Chinese measures. As a result, entire global scrap chain is shifted to India in absence of any quality or BIS standards for scrap recycling/ usage and imports in the country. A major threat is from US scrap imports, as US is diverting large volume of scrap to India, since EU and other developed countries have stringent standards for scrap. The import from US as share of India’s total scrap imports increased from 8 per cent in FY16 to 24 per cent in FY21.
This precarious situation can be resolved by safeguarding the domestic industry against these non-essential imports in the upcoming union budget.
The industry demands increasing the basic custom duty on Chapter-76 (Aluminium & articles).
Maruti Suzuki’s Q3FY22 net profit down 47.90%
Automobile major Maruti Suzuki India’s Q3FY22 net profit declined by over 47 per cent on a year-on-year basis, falling to Rs 1,011.3 crore from Rs 1,941.4 crore in Q3FY21.
The automobile major cited lower sales volume along with high commodity prices and lower non-operating income on account of mark-to-market impact as factors behind the net profit decline.
Net sales for the quarter under review fell to Rs 22,187.6 crore from Rs 22,236.7 crore earned in Q3FY21.
“The company sold a total of 430,668 units during the quarter, lower than 495,897 units in the same period, previous year,” the auto major said in a statement.
“Production was constrained by a global shortage in the supply of electronic components because of which an estimated 90,000 units could not be produced.
“In the domestic market, the sales stood at 365,673 units in the quarter, against 467,369 units in Q3FY21.
“There was no lack of demand as the company had more than 240,000 pending customer orders at the end of the quarter. Though still unpredictable, the electronics supply situation is improving gradually. The company hopes to increase production in Q4, though it would not reach full capacity.”
Besides, in the quarter under review, the company clocked its highest ever exports at 64,995 units as compared to 28,528 units in Q3FY21. “This was also 66 per cent higher than the previous peak exports in any Q3.”
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