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Monday, September 29, 2014

NAMORICA - Modi pledges a stable tax policy to woo US business

`Will Use Coal Scam Order To Clean Up Past'
Prime Miniser Narendra Modi made a powerful pitch on Monday to top honchos of American business and industry , with the promise of a stable tax policy and an assertion that he wants to convert the Supreme Court ruling on coal block allocation into an opportunity to move forward and "clean up the past".

"It is my conviction that tax stability is essential for confidence building," Modi told the chiefs of top US companies over a breakfast meet, among them Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Citigroup chief Michael Corbat, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, Pepsico's Indra Nooyi, Cargill's David W MacLennan, Caterpillar's Douglas Oberhelman, Merck's Kenneth Frazier, Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein, and Warburg Pincus' Charles Kaye. He also met CEOs of six other companies, including Boeing, IBM, and GE, in oneon-one meetings.

Modi's comment on a stable tax regime comes amidst severe criticism of the UPA's policies, including retrospective amendments to the law to claim taxes from Vodafone after it acquired Hutch's telecom assets in India. Modi and his team have not shied away from referring to the policies as "tax terrorism".

Asking the CEOs to be part of India's growth story, Modi pledged to smoothen the path for them. "Infrastructu re development is a big opportunity; it creates jobs & enhances the quality of life of our citizens," Modi said.

"India is open-minded. We want change that is not one-sided. Am discussing with citizens, industrialists & investors," the MEA spokesman quoted Modi as saying in a tweet. PM Narendra Modi, during a breakfast meet with industry leaders in the US on Monday, promised a stable tax policy. In the past, tax administration and frequent changes in government policies have been cited as major hurdles to investing in India. In recent years, even Indian business houses have often shunned investing in the country, preferring to go overseas.

The Modi government is keen to revive the investment cycle and is wooing investors, especially in the manufacturing sector, although the PM made it clear last week that the government does not believe in doles and concessions to attract flows into the country. Describing the meeting as "excellent and very good", business leaders said the PM heard their concerns and listed out the government's priority areas. "He answers questions brilliantly and is very focused on improving India. So, we are thrilled to be working with him," Nooyi said.

Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga said Modi can execute plans like he did in Gujarat.

"I have every belief he can do that. I believe then you can have a very good decade or ahead of growth in India and that would make every American investor happy to put their capital, technology and their people into India." Banga said Modi was focused on generating jobs for which there was a need to improve manufacturing, tourism and infrastructure. "His view is that he will get those with clear policies as well as about willingness to execute and he made the point many times over and I think from his perspective of his focus and his energy around Asia," he said.

While Boeing CEO James McNerney, who met Modi separately, promised to "accelerate engagement with India", GE's Immelt said his company is looking to scale up investments. "We discussed India. We are enthusiastic about the changes and the reforms in India and we are anxious to do our part in making India a better place," Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Jaya gets 4-yr jail term in corruption case, barred from being CM or MLA for 10 yrs

Former Foster Son, Friend Sasikalaa, Her Niece Also Found Guilty After 18-Year-Long Trial

TN CM Fined Rs 100Cr In Rs 66.65-Cr Case

BangaloreChennai: Four years in jail. Rs 100 crore as fine. Confiscation of all seized properties. Immediate imprisonment, and no private medical treatment. This is the crux of special judge John Michael D'Cunha's verdict in the Rs 66.65-crore disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayala lithaa. The immediate consequence of Saturday's shocker is that Jayalalithaa ceases to be both MLA and CM.

The conviction may push Jayalalithaa's party into a tighter embrace with the central government as AIADMK will now have to fight off rival DMK which, no doubt, will be enthused by the court's order. AIADMK has 37 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 11 in the Rajya Sabha. For BJP, such a development would be helpful, especially after its split with Shiv Sena, which has 18 MPs in the Lower House and three in the Upper House.

This is the first time anyone has been convicted while being a CM. However, this is the third time Jayalalithaa, 66, has been convicted in a corruption case, and the second time she has been forced to step down as CM. Her two earlier convictions-on February 2, 2000 and October 9, 2000-came when she was not in power. Both those convictions were overturned. The case she is now convicted in deals with offences such as abuse of office and amassing of wealth during her first term as CM. It has dragged on for nearly 18 years.

Three of Jayalalithaa's aides and co-accused--N Sasikalaa, V N Sudhakaran, J Elavarasi--were also awarded four years in jail. They were fined Rs 10 crore each.

As details of the ruling trickled out, violence broke out across TN with AIADMK cadres forcing businesses to down their shutters, torching buses and blocking roads.

First CM in office to be convicted

Several former and serving chief ministers have been imprisoned for political reasons and a handful of former CMs for corruption, but J Jayalalithaa is the first CM in office to go to jail for amassing illegal wealth.Former CMs who have been jailed for graft are Lalu Prasad, Madhu Koda, B S Yeddyurappa, O P Chautala and Jagannath Mishra. A member of AIADMK's legal team told TOI that they would appeal against the order in the disproportionate assets case against J Jayalalithaa as soon as Karnataka high court reopens after Dussehra on October 6.

"Since the sentence is more than three years, it was not automatically suspended by the trial court. The only option available to the convicted persons now is to file an appeal in the high court and seek bail.Whatever be the speed, a few weeks of imprisonment cannot be avoided," he said.

The prosecution scored a perfect 10 of sorts as it got all the four convicted on all the three charges against them. While Jayalalithaa was convicted under provisions of Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (criminal misconduct by public servants), the other three were guilty of Sections 109 (abetment) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, special public prosecutor Bhavani Singh told TOI.

Singh and his assistant M S Maradi said the prosecution had proved its case and law had taken its course. Maradi said, "Since the sentence is four years, she has to move the high court by way of a criminal appeal for getting bail". As sporadic violence broke out across Tamil Nadu, officials briefed governor K Rosaiah, who expressed concern over the situation.

"Technically , the Tamil Nadu cabinet does not exist now as the head has been disqualified," said former HC judge K Chandru. Under the Constitution, the governor is in charge in the absence of the council of ministers. While the governor can hold official meetings and issue instructions, he cannot issue any ordinance or convene the assembly . Sources said AIADMK MLAs would meet in a day or two to elect their new leader. "We hope the same ministry will take oath again," a senior partyleader said.

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