Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh held guilty of contempt. SC clears way for ArcelorMittal's takeover of Essar Steel. Consumer spending declines for first time in more than four decades. Summer crops hit due to untimely heavy rains. Vodafone Idea, Airtel share price rises on hopes of assistance from the government. Facebook reportedly testing Instagram-like photo feed feature.
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It's Con-Tempting: On Friday, the Supreme Court held former Ranbaxy promoters Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh guilty of contempt in a case filed by Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo.
The Bench, which comprised outgoing CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta, also held embattled hospital chain Fortis Healthcare guilty of contempt.
The contempt petition against the Singh brothers had been filed by Daiichi Sankyo over accusations of them disposing their assets in violation of a court order putting on hold the acquisition of controlling stake in Fortis by Malaysian firm IHH Healthcare.
The brothers had been arrested by Delhi Police in connection with a money laundering case for alleged misappropriation of funds of Religare Finvest Limited last month. Scroll.in
Additionally, the apex court has refused to lift the stay on the takeover of Fortis Healthcare by Malaysian operator IHH Healthcare. BS
Meanwhile, Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) chief Gurinder Singh Dhillon has admitted of his financial dealings with the Singh brothers. Although, he denied of “any liability” towards RHC Holdings, which was promoted by Malvinder and Shivinder Singh. ET Pharmaceuticals
Go Ahead: The Supreme Court of India has cleared way for ArcelorMittal's takeover of debt-ridden Essar Steel.
The apex court has asked ArcelorMittal to pay creditors for Essar Steel India, in the process scrapping a bankruptcy appellate tribunal’s order that had given secured and unsecured lenders equal right over the sale proceeds.
Previously: ArcelorMittal, and its partner Nippon Steel had offered to pay INR42,000cr in cash to creditors and pump another INR8,000cr in Essar Steel last year. While that offer was approved by a bankruptcy tribunal in March under the insolvency process, the payment was kept on hold by the SC after a dispute arose between lenders on the distribution of funds. Livemint
Shares of PSU banks, including SBI, Canara Bank, PNB, IDBI rallied 1-9% following the verdict which was ruled in favour of the Committee of Creditors (COC), which consists of banks. Moneycontrol
Disconcerting: Consumer spending in India declined for the first time in more than four decades in 2017-18, cited a BS report quoting a government survey (which has not been released yet).
As per the "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India" survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the average monthly spending by an individual fell to INR1,446 in 2017-18 from INR1,501 in 2011-12, down 3.7%.
Appalling: The survey found that rural Indians bought less of all food products barring milk and milk-related items. Consumers from all parts of the country - including urban areas - spent drastically less on essential food items such as oil, salt, sugar and spices, the article highlighted. ET Indicators
A Deluge: Summer-sown crops such as soybean, cotton, rice and vegetables have been damaged due to unexpected heavy rains in October and November.
Following robust monsoon rains, the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) had expected India's soybean harvest to be more than 10 million tonnes. But heavy recent rains damaged the crop in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, which account for more than 85% of India’s output, and forced the trade body to cut that estimate to below 9 million tonnes. Cotton bolls were damaged by late rains in Maharashtra and Gujarat, which account for over half of the country’s output. Cyclone Bulbul also soaked the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal last week, damaging rice crops in these key producing states. Reuters
Rest Only At The Summit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing tax officials to collect 17% more in direct taxes this year as the government seeks to shore up revenues amid a sharp economic slowdown.
Interestingly, the target has been maintained even though the government recently approved a massive cut in corporate taxes, which are a part of direct taxes.
Perhaps realising how unrealistic the goal is, and bogged down by the pressure, 22 top-level tax department officers have opted for voluntary retirement so far this year and around 34 did so in 2018. Reuters
Harbinger of Hope: Shares of telecom operators Vodafone Idea and Airtel today soared on the back of hopes that the government would step in to help the ailing sector.
On a conference call with analysts, Vodafone Idea Chief Executive Officer Ravinder Takkar said he saw no conflict in the government’s ability to provide relief to telecoms companies. This sent Vodafone Idea share price up c. 20% before it closed at INR3.75 (+27.12%). Shares of Bharti Airtel rose over 8% before closing at INR396 (+9.24%). Reuters
The development comes days after Vodafone India's CEO said that unless the government eases off on some of the demands on mobile spectrum fees, the company risks liquidation. However, even before it can think of liquidating its India business, Vodafone has to face a behemoth tax case worth INR22,100cr.
Flashback: Vodafone had purchased 67% stake in Hutchison Essar twelve years back. In 2007, the Indian Income Tax department slapped a demand notice seeking INR8,000cr in capital gains tax. With penalty and interest included, the tax claim now amounts to INR22,100cr and as per resolution professionals, all pending litigation has to be wrapped up before liquidating a company. Business Insider
Nobody's Safe Anywhere: After WhatsApp reported a hack by Israeli surveillance firm NSO group, its competitors Telegram and Signal saw increased traction in the app stores. But cybersecurity researchers say even these platforms are vulnerable to threats. These apps also provide additional features for privacy - like WhatsApp - but even these may not be immune from cyber-attacks. ET Tech
Everyone Should Look Alike in the Facebook Family: Facebook has already bought Instagram and added branding tags that tie the two together. But it is still copying it - a TechCrunch report spotted how Facebook is testing a feature called Popular Photos. This affixes an endless stream of algorithmically selected pics from friends below the full-screen view of a photo opened from the News Feed. This is an Instagram built into Facebook.
Testing began in October, and updated tests are being planned before Popular Photos could be rolled out to the general public. TechCrunch
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