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Women lab staff script med kit scam

The arrest of two women laboratory technicians on Saturday for selling costly medical-testing kits of the civil hospital in Kotkapura, Faridkot has ripped apart a thriving racket .

The duo of Kulwinder Kaur and Rajwinder Kaur was nabbed following an inquiry into the racket on the complaint of a SMO of hospital.

They ran this operation by twisting rules to their advantage by entering fake names in records, passing them off as government employees — who are entitled to free tests. In fact they even used names of their family members. Rajvinder showed a large number of tests in her mother, Ranjit Kaur’s name, including a pregnancy test, but put her age in the record as 57.

Sources said they also declined medical tests to many genuine OPD patients, and directed them to selected private laboratories in the town.

After registering a case, police are interrogating the accused to know which private medical laboratories the kits were sold to.


Army land scam probe: Military Secy to be questioned

One of the ten seniormost Generals of the Army has been summoned to Kolkata for questioning in a land scam case that is turning out to be one of the biggest probes involving senior officers.

Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash, who is Military Secretary at Army Headquarters, has been called for questioning in the Darjeeling land scam case. Two Lt Generals, P K Rath and Ramesh Halgali who were both Corps commanders, have already been attached to the Kolkata-based Eastern Command in the same case.

Lt Gen Prakash, one of the seven Principal Staff Officers at Army HQ, is so far the seniormost officer called for questioning in the case where NOCs (no-objection certificates) were allegedly granted for transfer of 70 acres of land to an educational institution that posed as an affiliate of Ajmer’s Mayo College.

Sources said the officer has been called after his name came up in statements given by officers who are currently being probed. The inquiry is looking into allegations that Lt Gen Prakash recommended the Dilip Agarwal Geetanjali Educational Trust that wanted to set up a school on the piece of land near the 33 Corps HQ is Sukna.

The inquiry is probing allegations that his name appeared as the Managing Director in brochures taken out by the educational institution.

Army officials said that while several officers have been called for questioning, it does not mean that they are guilty. “The court of inquiry has been ordered to probe allegations of wrongdoing but it does not mean that all officers who have been called are guilty. If any evidence is found, suitable action will be taken,” an Army official said.

As first reported by The Indian Express, the Army ordered a Court of Inquiry last month into the dubious land deal after it came to light that NOCs were granted against the norms and Mayo College clarified that it had nothing to do with the educational institution.

Source: The Indian Express

One arrested in Rs 9.35-lakh email lottery scam

The Juhu police have arrested a 27-year-old man in connection with an internet lottery scam. The victim, Neeta Pathak, was duped to the tune of Rs 9.35 lakh. The accused, Mobin Khan, is part of a larger racket and was paid 3% commission on each amount that was deposited in his account, said the police.

Around two months ago, Pathak received an email, informing her that she had won a lottery of .5 million. An unsuspecting Pathak replied to the email, following which she was informed that she would have to pay a processing fee to get the amount. The scamsters asked Pathak to deposit Rs 1.80 lakh in a private bank account, registered in the name of Khan, at Malad. Subsequently, she was instructed to deposit money, totalling Rs 9.35 lakh, in four other banks over a period of two months.

Pathak smelt a rat when she did not receive any money despite shelling out the hefty `processing fees' and approached the police. Investigating officer Gulzarilal Fadatare said, "Khan resides in Malwani and is unemployed. He was asked to open a bank account by an acquaintance, who promised him a 3% commission on each amount that was deposited in his account.''

Sleuths believe that the scamsters might have cheated several others in a similar fashion. "We are trying to trace the person who asked Khan to open a bank account,'' said an officer. "We are going through Khan's bank statements to ascertain if more money was deposited in his account. This will help us trace others involved in the scam,'' the officer added.

Source: TOI

Orissa mine scam could be worth more than Rs 14k cr

While Orissa vigilance sleuths and mines department officials are scratching their heads trying to find out the extent and dimensions of the mining scam, official documents reveal that the magnitude of the scam could be anything over Rs 14000 crore.

The Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court headed by former bureaucrat PV Jayakrishnan would soon start investigating the violation of forest laws following a petition by Orissa-based journalist Rabi Das.

However, CEC chairman Jayakrishnan said the panel has not got the formal notification of the probe order as yet. "We will decide about the modalities of the probe and the dates after we see the notification," he told The Indian Express.

But the fact is that the scam goes beyond violation of forest laws only. Evidence available with The Indian Express shows the real scam was mining in excess of the limits set by the authorities. This violated the existing environmental laws.

Documents brought under the RTI Act showed that over last 6-7 years more than dozen leading mining and steel companies dug out excessive quantities of iron, chromite and manganese ores in wanton disregard of existing laws and limits. It’s no secret they could do it due to lax supervision of officials of the Orissa Pollution Control Board, Indian Bureau of Mines, state mines department, forest department, district collector and Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Any mining company before digging up even a handful of earth in the ore-rich areas has to obtain a Consent to Operate (CTO) certificate from the Orissa Pollution Control Board which stipulates the amount of ore that can be mined in a year. The limit is specified with an eye on collateral environmental damage that mining brings as the waste and overburden (the earth that needs to be excavated for extracting the ore) is normally 3-5 times of the actual mineral.

When environmental clearance is granted to any mine, the maximum amount of ore which can be mined per year is specified. The quantity of ore that is to be extracted every year is specified in the mining plan which is approved by the IBM. Accordingly, when the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study is carried out the likely impacts on the local environment are assessed based on the quantity of ore to be extracted every year.

Documents obtained from the Orissa Pollution Control Board and interviews with officials in the State mining department show that the biggest violator could be Aditya Birla Group-owned Essel Mining and Industries Limited. Between 2001-02 and 2005-06, the company mined 206 lakh tonnes of iron ore in excess of its permitted limit of 25.86 lakh tonnes in just 2 mines(Kasia and Jiling-Longalata) of Keonjhar district. By conservative estimates, the total amount of the excess iron ore mined was Rs 4269 crores.

Essel Mining seemed to care two hoots about possible closure of the mines for violation of the OPCB norms. Though a closure notice was issued by the OPCB’s regional office in Keonjhar district on January 24, 2006 for violating the conditions and running two screening plants inside the forest area without mandatory environmental clearance, it did not shut shop. The OPCB also did not press further and did not close the mines.

Ardhendu Mohapatra, the chief residential manager of Essel Mining in Orissa said he was not authorized to comment but added that the company had all the statutory clearances in places. “We have not violated any laws,” he said.

Another major player, SR Rungta Group similarly mined iron ore and manganese in excess of the limit they were allowed by the OPCB. By conservative estimates, the total amount of the excess iron ore mined by the group companies between 2003 and 2006 in 6 of its mines was Rs 2978 crores. Like Essel Mining, Rungta Mines was also not shut in spite of OPCB norm violations. On Dec 18, 2006, the Ministry of Environment and Forests informed the Orissa government about illegal/excessive extraction of iron ore in 6 mines of Rungtas.

A designated committee of the OPCB had also found that excess mining was going on and had ordered closure of at least two mines on March 1, 2007. But the OPCB Chairman at Bhubaneswar did not issue the closure order. None of the officials of Rungta were available for comment.

Similarly, documents revealed that the Thakurani B mines owned by SL Sarda and ML Sarda in Keonjhar with a controlling interest by Jindal Steel and Power Limited mined iron ores in excess of the specified limit worth Rs 1850 crore. Evidence shows that Tata Steel, which has chromite and iron ore mines in Sukinda(Jajpur district) and Joda East (Keonjhar) respectively mined ores worth Rs 1200 crore between 2004-05 and 2007-08.

Even the IMFA group promoted by BJD MP Jay Panda, mined excess chromite ore worth Rs 50 crore in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Officials of Tata Steel and IMFA denied that the companies had violated any provisions of mining and environmental laws.

It appears that even the government companies are no holy saints since Orissa Mining Corporation was found to have mined 9.63 lakh tonnes of excess chromite from its South Kaliapani mines in Jajpur district. During the period between 2004 and 2008, the market value of the excess ore is estimated at Rs 105 crore.

Incredibly OPCB suddenly raised the limits of ore production of the companies in a subsequent year even though the company had violated the consent to operate conditions in the past. No penal action was taken against them. It also appears that OPCB officials never applied their mind to assess the disastrous effects on the local environment by allowing companies to increase their production by 10-20 times from the previous levels.

Orissa steel and mines secretary Ashok Dalwai said he was not aware if excess mining has taken place in Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts. “It has not been proved as yet whether excess mining took place. But we have to verify case by case and see if the companies had got their mining plans modified by the Indian Bureau of Mines. But we are looking into more important facts of the case,” said Dalwai.

This is surprising since the field inspection reports of the Pollution Control Board clearly pointed out the huge scam which was going on right under every body’s nose. Clearly the Mining Department and the Pollution Control Board did not exchange information.

LN Patnaik, who headed the Orissa Pollution Control Board between 2004 and 2008 (when some of the excess mining happened) said he does not remember what happened during those period. “It (excess mining) may be possible, but under what circumstances it happened I can’t say,” he said.

Meanwhile the director of Orissa vigilance, Anup Patnaik said the agency would take several months before it can file a chargesheet. “We are still assessing the magnitude of the scam. So far we have lodged 3 cases and may lodge more in the coming days. We will not spare anybody whosoever is involved in the scam,” said Patnaik.

Source: The Indian Express

Koda scam: Discrepancies in Balaji books

The money trail in the Madhu Koda case keeps finding its way to a clutch of companies of the Mumbai-based Balaji Group. Officials of
the Enforcement Directorate, who were in Mumbai to examine records of these companies, have found “discrepancies” in documents of the firm.

Several companies of the group — Balaji Universal Trade, Balaji Bullion — have featured in the investigations. During the two-year period that Mr Koda was chief minister of Jharkhand, several of his close associates such as Binod Sinha, Arvind Vyas, Sanjay Chaudhary, became board members of these companies by acquiring a major stake in them. Investigators suspect that fake invoices could have been made to route the multi-crore hawala money.

Sources said the questioning, done by a joint team of ED and Income Tax department, mainly focused on cross checking of documents seized by the income tax department during its nationwide searches at about 76 premises of Mr Koda and his associates.

Already, I-T officials have found documentary evidence of cash transactions by Koda associates. Between November 2006 and December 2008, hawala trader Manoj Punamia made cash deposits amounting to Rs 640 crore in a Union Bank of India account for Balaji Group company, Balaji Universal Trade. Punamia was earlier found to have been involved in transferring Rs 550 crore through the hawala route to Dubai for investments on behalf of Balaji Bullion.

Meanwhile, Manoj Punamia, who played a key role in the transfer of money for Koda associates, was questioned by investigators. It would appear that investigators have enough details to pin down Punamia. Sources indicated that faced with the mountain of evidence, Punamia was ready to turn approver, however he now seems to be reconsidering.

Source: Economic Times

Madhu Koda scam probe may land many netas, babus in net

The interrogation of Manoj Punamia, the Mumbai based hawala trader who played the key role in transferring the ill-gotten money of the
associates of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, may lead to the disclosure of the involvement of several other politicians and bureaucrats who too may have laundered their money through the same route.

The Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate (ET) officials have been quizzing Punamia in Mumbai for the last three days hoping he will eventually start disclosing the hawala transactions of Mr Koda. But sources said Punamia is a big time hawala trader whose clientele may not be limited to Koda and company but may include other politicians and bureaucrats as well.

“If Punamia opens up and starts disclosing the details of the hawala transaction made by Koda’s associates, the amount could be between Rs 2500 crore to Rs 4000 crore. But the core issue is that Punamia is running a big time hawala racket. So it’s not only the question of Koda but there may be whole lot of other players from New Delhi and other states who may be using Punamia’s services to transfer their money abroad by hawala route. This will create a big furore in the political and bureaucratic circles,” said an I-T source.

No wonder, according to the I-T source, it could be a scary prospect for Punamia who is perhaps apprehensive that his disclosure may invite even threat to his life .

As for the I-T and ED officials, they have been mounting pressure on Punamia to become an approver in the multi-crore money laundering scam in which Mr Koda is an accused. Even on Wednesday, the officials grilled him in Mumbai but he remained non-committal. “We are still optimistic that he will become an approver. We are trying and will keep on trying but if it does not work, ED will have no option but to arrest him,” sources said.

Source: Economic Times

CBI unearthed scam in post office at Alwar

CBI has unearthed a scam running into more than 17 lakhs of rupees at Harsoli post office in Rajasthan's Alwar district.

"Two sub post masters working in the post office connived with the two agents Amit Kumar and Kamla Devi, and obtained pre-matured payment of MIS (Monthly Installment Scheme) and FD (Fixed Deposit) accounts of villagers who were the customers of post office for past many years," Atul Gupta, spokesperson, CBI said today.

"After getting the accounts matured for payment, they opened forged saving accounts in the name of these account holders in the post office and misappropriated the amount by withdrawing the amount through forms," he said, a CBI team has conducted search at three locations at Barod, Harsoli and Machedi.

"The amount of the fraud is expected to exceed the primary estimate of rupees 17 lakhs.

Source: PTI

Trio target 60 in foreign job scam

The Chembur police are looking for three men who cheated over 60 job aspirants on the pretext of getting them employment in Singapore and the case came to light on Saturday after one of the victims, Kaushalkumar Kushwaha (24), a resident of Navi Mumbai, approached the Chembur police. Kushwaha, a welder, told the police that he was duped of Rs 60,000. He had been offered the work of a welder at Singapore.

Kushwaha was to leave for Singapore on November 3. "But on November 2, one of the accused called him up. Kushwaha was told that his journey abroad had been postponed because of incomplete documents. Kushwaha never heard from the men again,'' a police official said.

The accused Premkumar alias Mohammed Sharif (45), Sajid Ahmed (45) and Jaafar (35) offered jobs for positions of welders, electricians, computer operators, air-conditioner mechanics and JCB operators. They used to charge between Rs 30,000-70,000. A cheating case has been registered.

Source: TOI

Hawala scam: Vikash Sinha brought to Delhi by ED; interrogation begins

Vikash Sinha, an associate of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, was on Sunday brought to the national capital for interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate in the alleged hawala and illegal investments case running into more than Rs 2,000 crore.

Vikash, has been brought from the Jharkhand capital to the ED's zonal office here, after a Ranchi local court gave the directorate his custody for 10 days.

Sources said his interrogation has begun. The ED has framed charges against Vikash, brother of Koda aide Binod Sinha, under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and other provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"He will be interrogated about money laundering and Hawala deals that he carried out on behalf of Koda and his men. He is the link to the activities of one of Koda's main associates and his brother Binod Sinha, who is still to depose before us," an ED source said.

Vikash has accepted during questioning by the IT department that he carried a cash of Rs 40 crore from Ranchi to Kolkata and transferred the money for alleged hawala transaction on behalf of his brother Binod and Koda, the ED had claimed earlier.

During the 10-day custody period, Vikash may also be taken to places in and outside the national capital for gathering evidence, the sources added.

According to the ED, Vikash, in his Income Tax returns, mentioned Rs 5,66,526 as income during 2006-07 and it quadrupled to Rs 24 lakh during 2007-08.

The ED, while obtaining Vikash's custody, had told the local Ranchi court that he was working with others for laundering proceeds of the crime.

Persons who brought cash for Binod and family members were introduced by Vikash. His finances are not from legal sources of income, the sources had claimed.

Sources said Vikash allegedly filed false entries to the tune of Rs 4.80 crore from companies which exist only on papers and no business activity is carried out by them.

Source: TOI

Truce deal could hamper probe: Lokayukta

Any truce between chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and the Reddy brothers that involves the transfer of officials could hamper the ongoing Lokayukta probe into illegal mining in Bellary.

"There's a lot of our work on in Bellary and the present set of officials is cooperative. If they are changed, it will be difficult for us to carry out our investigations," Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said.

As the rift between Reddy brothers and the chief minister intensified, Yeddyurappa had changed the entire Bellary administration, including the DC, DCF, SP and tahsildars. Along with the mining lease scam, the Lokayukta is also probing into charges of illegal mining by the Reddy brothers on 10 acres bordering Andhra Pradesh. At least four or five cases were lodged relating to illegal mining on forest land, where the Supreme Court had stayed mining lease issued to a company.

Chief conservator of forests U V Singh, who is assisting the Lokayukta with the mining probe, had visited the controversial spot last week.

"The first problem was that rain destroyed roads on the controversial forest land. However, Singh said some work had taken place and ore illegally transported. Since the personnel and machinery had been moved out of the place when Singh visited it, we have difficulty in saying who was mining in the area," Justice Hegde pointed out.

"The worrying factor is not finding direct evidence of illegal mining. The present DCF had earlier worked with us when we submitted the first mining report. He is an honest officer and he is cooperating. The new administration, including police and DC in the district, is cooperating with our investigation. I don't know what will happen after these officers are changed," Justice Hegde revealed.

The Lokayukta received a complaint that ore worth over Rs 1000 crore had been illegally removed from the forest.

Source: TOI

Four Indians among 20 charged in hedge fund scam

The FBI has charged a further 14 people, including two Indians and Wall Street professionals, in a widening USD 53 million insider trading scam, the largest ever such case in the United States.

The latest action brings the number of people who have been charged in the case to 20, including four Indians.

The scam came to light last month with the arrest of Sri Lankan Tamil-origin billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group founder and hedge fund operator, and five others, two of whom were Indians.

Deep Shah, a former analyst at the Moody's Investor Service, and Gautham Shankar, a former proprietary trader at Schottenfeld Group in New York, were charged yesterday.

Shankar has pleaded guilty, while Shah is still at large.

Anil Kumar and Rajiv Goel (both 51) are the two other Indians who were were arrested last month for allegedly committing the fraud.

Source: Press Trust of India (PTI)

Cops nab 'real estate agent' for visa fraud

The Kurla police on Wednesday arrested a 48-year-old man who duped several people by offering them jobs abroad and work visas. Mohammed
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Ibrahim Shaikh posed as a estate agent and to get people placed in Dubai, Jordan, UK and the US. Investigations have revealed that Shaikh had been conning people since 2006.

Shaikh's scam came to light when hotel management professional Pappu Sachdev lodged a complaint. Shaikh had extracted Rs 8.5 lakh from the Kurla resident by promising him a job in the UK as well as work visa.

"I met Shaikh through my neighbour in 2008. He spoke confidently and I fell for his lies," said Sachdev. "I took a loan and paid Shaikh. Though he got me a work permit in 2008 itself, he kept delaying my departure.'' Sachdev smelt a rat and approached the UK consulate. "I was shocked when the consulate officials told me that my visa was fake. My family doesn't know about the fraud,'' the 32-year-old said.

Shaikh has been booked for forgery and cheating. Explaining Shaikh's modus operandi, senior inspector Vijay Bagwe of Kurla police said, "Having assured his victims of an overseas job, Shaikh asked them for an advance payment. On receiving cash, Shaikh would hand over photocopies of the visas and demand money for air tickets. He would give them photocopies of the tickets and give them details of the flight and the day of the journey.''

However, said Jadhav, when victims reached the airport, Shaikh would call up and inform them that the journey has been postponed for two days. "But victims never left the country and their attempts to contact Shaikh did not bear fruit."

The police are now on the lookout for Shaikh's accomplices who helped him prepare fake visas.

Source: TOI

Spammy scams surfacing on Twitter, Facebook

Twitter and Facebook users were getting hit with scams on Monday.

Twitter users warned about direct messages that said, "I make money online with google. i learned how here [link]," according to Twitter users.

A Twitter representative said it was not a phishing scam because the site to which the spam links does not ask for a username and password, or look like a Twitter page.

"We're on it and fixing accounts as fast as possible," she wrote in an e-mail. "You can keep posted on known issues as well by checking in on the Twitter Status page."

On Facebook, meanwhile, people were seeing messages from friends that said, "just take a look at it and read it over and try it if you want [link]." The link goes to a site that appears to be hosting malware. Accounts that are generating the messages are likely compromised, and the owners should change their passwords immediately.

"We're aware of this campaign, and are blocking malicious URLs and resetting affected users' accounts," a Facebook representative said in an e-mail. "The link in the spam message is for a work-at-home scam, not a phishing site. We're still investigating, but it's likely people's accounts were compromised through a previous phishing scheme."

Source: Cnet.com

Woman cheated of Rs 1.19 lakh

A woman was cheated by the fraudsters over the phone in the city.

In a case at the Magadi Road Police station, the scamsters used the names of BMW Automobiles of UK, Reserve Bank of India and cheated Saraswathi, a private firm employee, of Rs 1.19 lakh.

Saraswathi received an email on October 20 saying she had won an online lottery prize worth of 75,000 British pounds. Two days later, a person asked her to pay him. She credited Rs 22,500 to his ICICI bank account as per his request.

A day later, Sangeetha Kumari, pretending to be the commissioner of RBI, asked Saraswathi to pay Rs 97,000 as tax. Saraswathi credited the sum to Sangeetha’s account.

But on the fourth day, Saraswathi again received a call from UK and was asked to pay Rs 2.91 lakh as tax money. Saraswathi grew suspicious and refused. The caller threatened her saying she will not get back the money she had paid earlier.

Saraswathi went to the RBI at Nrupathunga Road, where officials confirmed there was no RBI connection.

Source: Express Buzz

BJP accuses Mr. A. Raja for Biggest (Telecom) Scam in Independent India

The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a regular case with regard to the allotment of spectrum for the 2-G license issued by the Department of Telecommunications in 2007. Offices of the Department of Telecommunications have been searched and various documents have been seized. In 2007 an open license regime was recommended. Applications for telecom licenses were invited setting 1st October, 2007 as the deadline.

The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has alledged that even when applications were invited till 1.10.2007, an artificial cut-off date i.e. 25.9.2007 was created and applictions received between 25.9.2007 and 1.10.2007 were summarily rejected and not considered. Rules of the game were changed after the game had begun. All friendly applicants, mostly real estate companies had been advised to put in their applications on or before 25.9.2007. This is not the Opposition’s charge as the Prime Minister has commented.
It is now a judgment of the Delhi High Court, which has quashed the fixation of these cut-off date wherein many experienced players were left out and 9 licenses were issued to relatively inexperienced parties.

BJP also alledged that the amount to be charged for the licenses and the spectrum allocation from these 9 operators. The license is merely an entitlement to operate the service. The physical operation can commence only after the allotment of spectrum. Together, the two were allotted at a price of Rs. 1650 crores per operator. This price was taken not on the basis of the 2007 market value of thelicense but on the basis of an auction held in 2001which determined the 2001 price. Thus, a valuable public asset was being allotted in 2007 at a 2001 price. The Minister’s contention that the TRAI had recommended this is wholly erroneous because the TRAI had recommended that “the entry fee determined in 2001 is not the realistic pricefor obtaining the license . Perhaps it needs to be re-assessed through a market mechanism.” In any case a Government asset should ordinarily be sold through an auction. The value of thelicense and spectrum in 2007 could not be the same as in 2001. The telecom market has grown phenomenally during this period. Obviously, the government and the Public Exchequer suffered a loss. The quantum of loss suffered in this case is easily determinable. The allotees post allotment did not operate the service. All that they owned was a shell company and a guaranteed spectrum. They availed the 74% FDI policy of the Government and found buyers/ joint venture partners from the international market. The companies were overnight valued at over 200 billion dollars (over Rs.9000 crores) and a large chunk of the equity was sold by at least 3 licensees to overseas partners at a price of Rs.6000 – 7000 crores. If the value of spectrum in each case was over Rs.9000 crores, obviously the Government lost over Rs. 7000 crores per eachlicense. For the 9 licenses collectively along with the spectrum, the net evaluation exceeds Rs. 60,000 crores.

BJP is of the views that this loss would be further compounded because the additional spectrum being made available in the market at a throw away price would suppress the value of the 3-G spectrumfor which the Government now plans an auction. If auction can be held for the 3-G spectrum in accordance with the decision of the EOGM why was the same principle was not followed while allotting the 2-G spectrum.

Do you agree with BJP? or you think Telecom Minister A. Raja is not involved in this? Do post your comments about what you think about this.

Sonia waiting for MK word on Raja?

With the CBI raids in the offices of the Telecommunication Ministry creating a tricky situation for minister A Raja, the Congress on Monday took the moral high-ground saying that it has ‘zero tolerance’ towards corruption.

This, of course, is the official line. Off record, senior Congress leaders said that they expected Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi would not insist on ‘defending the indefensible’. Karunanidhi was an astute politician who would not expose his party or the UPA government to opposition mudslinging or allow a media witch-hunt to unroll, they said. The Congress is, in fact, waiting for Karunanidhi to take a call on the issue. A top DMK functionary is expected to meet Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel with a message from the CM.

For the moment, the Congress is sticking to a standard line for public consumption. “In the Congress, we are for transparency in public life. We espouse a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption,” party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said. Anticipating a united BJP-Left Opposition backlash in the Winter Session of Parliament on 2G spectrum allocation, the party tried to wash its hands off the issue. Ahmed insisted that ‘the relevant facts can only emerge from the government and not from the party’.

The party continued to maintain that taking action against Raja did not arise as his name did not figure anywhere and the raids were against some officials.

Source: ExpressBuzz

IELTS scam kingpin arrested

Police have arrested the kingpin of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scam, that had come to light on July 6, 2009,
when they had arrested three persons, including two boys and a girl in an impersonation case whereby they had superimposed their pictures on the passport for appearing on behalf of other candidates.

Notably, police had also arrested people from Jalandhar, Faridkot and Ludhiana in the same case, but Rajbir Singh, who was being considered as the main accused, was not arrested as he had managed to escape on July 6 and is absconding since then.

With Vishal Mehta’s arrest, police are claiming to have solved the case, saying the accused was the mastermind behind the scam. Assistant sub-inspector Tarsem said Mehta, who was arrested from Gurgaon on Saturday night, was ex-manager operations with Planet Education Company, looking after their operations in India and Nepal. The company had tied up with Australian embassy for conducting IELTS exams. It was here that he started taking money from aspirants for Australia for getting them to secure qualifying marks, charging them somewhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. And for this, he used to contact people securing marks below the required cutoff, contacting them through fake email ids.

On a complaint from Australia that students being sent there did not seem to fit the bill, an inquiry was conducted by the company.

Vishal had left the company out of fear in September 2008 and joined Rajbir and a few other people, whereby they took to another modus operandi. Photographs were superimposed on passports of the aspirants so that impersonators could appear in their place, helping them secure good marks.

Source: TOI

A mega scam

The raids conducted by the CBI in the department of telecom offices and the case registered against ‘unknown’ officials on the basis of preliminary findings confirm the suspicion about serious irregularities in the award of second generation (2G) licences to telecom operators in 2008. The opposition parties and others had pointed out that the irregularities had cost the government between Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore. Communications minister A Raja, who took the vital decisions, is answerable for the loss. It is inconceivable that senior officials would act without the minister’s clearance on matters that involved thousands of crores of revenue. Violation of norms is clear even for a layman. The licences were given and spectrum allotted to companies some of which did not have the right qualifications. It was done without inviting tenders and strangely on a first-come-first-served basis. Licences were sold for fees that prevailed in 2001 and the entire process was arbitrary and non-transparent. The questionable nature of the entire matter is clear from the fact that two companies which got the licence sold their stake within weeks for many times their investment.

The CBI investigation is on the orders of the Central Vigilance Commissioner who had found that conduct of the DoT was not above board. The minister has defended the DoT action and refused to resign, arguing that the department had followed all procedures laid down by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). This is wrong because the TRAI had actually recommended auctions for selecting licensees. Raja accepted only those recommendations of the TRAI which suited the course he had decided to adopt. In any case it is wrong to blame the TRAI, because the department was not bound by its recommendations. Raja has also tried to shift responsibility by claiming that the decisions had the approval of the prime minister. That is also lame defence.

Raja, who is involved in the scandal, should not have been given the telecom portfolio when the UPA returned to power this year. It was pressure from his party, the DMK, which forced the UPA to award him the portfolio. Now that a case has been registered after preliminary investigations, his continuation in the government is untenable. He has showed no sign of public morality, sense of responsibility or shame. If he does not resign, he should be told to, or sacked. And the CBI should be allowed to complete the investigation independently.

Source:Deccan Herald

More trouble for Raja in telecom scam

There was more trouble for Union Telecom Minister A Raja on Sunday who is facing allegations in the massive spectrum scam.

Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation Ashwini Kumar visited Chennai causing quite a flutter. While he himself sought to play down his trip, political circles attached much significance to it coming as it did in the wake of the ongoing CBI raids.

Raja too was in Chennai on Sunday and he iterated that the spectrum allocation was as per norms.

The Union government is said to have suffered losses of between Rs 25,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore in the scam.

The DMK has officially not reacted to the CBI raids but the party supremo M Karunanidhi is believed to have conveyed his resentment to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The prime minister on Sunday refused to be drawn out on the scam.

Source: Deccan Herald

One more held in DDA flat scam

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the crime branch of Delhi Police has arrested a financier for his alleged involvement in the DDA
Housing Scheme scam that was unearthed last year.

According to Amulya Patnaik, joint commissioner (crime), this is the ninth arrest made in the case so far. "Eight other accused had been arrested earlier. They are Laxmi Narain Meena, Deepak Kumar, Mithan Lal Gautam, Raju Ram, Vijay Pal, Surender Singh, Jeet Ram and Vijay Kumar Verma. They all are presently in judicial custody,'' said Patnaik.

During investigation into the case, it was found that one Rakesh Boyet a property dealer and resident of Uttam Nagar had financed Rs 4 lakhs to the accused M L Gautam and had also given Rs 9 lakhs through his partner Raju Ram. Boyet was aware of the entire scheme and had actively participated in it.

"Boyet went underground soon after the media reported the DDA scam. Later, Proclaimed Offender proceedings were initiated against him and a proclamation notice was issued by the court,'' said a senior police officer.

According to police, accused Boyet is also facing trial for torturing and killing his wife. "His in-laws came to know that he was an absconder in the DDA scam case after they came across a proclamation notice published in a newspaper. They spotted Boyet near Rohini court complex on October 15 and informed the police. He was arrested and produced in court from where he was sent to judicial custody,'' added the EOW official.

EOW got his production warrant issued in the DDA Housing Scheme case and took the accused on police remand on October 20.


Another scam in HSRP, ferry tickets, alleges Parrikar

Opposition leader Manohar Parrikar on Friday alleged another scam in the high security registration plates (HSRP) stating that the
contract awarded to Shimnit Utsch has a clause stating that old vehicle owners will have to pay an additional 35% to convert their number plates.
Addressing the media, Parrikar said that the people of Goa would be forced to cough up Rs 22 crore to the company. "The number of old vehicles in Goa runs into lakhs. The contract allows Shimnit Utsch to charge 35% extra to change the number plate. This means two wheeler owners will have to shell out an additional Rs 230. This information has been hidden from the common man," the opposition leader said. Parrikar said that he had written to the chief secretary bringing it to his notice.

However, Dhruv Patel, marketing manager, Shimnit Utsch denied these allegations. "Only if your HSRP breaks and a replacement of HSRP is required, a royalty of 35% needs to be paid. A part of this royalty goes to state government. By implementing the HSRP, the number plate is as good as a driving licence or the RC book, which is the property of the state government. Similar procedures are followed if a licence or RC book is lost," said Dhruv Patel, marketing manager, Shimnit Utsch.

Parrikar, meanwhile, alleged that there is another scam in the river navigation department (RND) and it is a racket by creating posts of ticket collectors. The opposition leader said he had seen media reports that tickets were being imposed on persons travelling on all ferry routes except island routes.

"I have a reply from the government through an unstarred question, which says that the additional cost incurred to recruit new ticket collectors will be Rs 9.15 lakh per month. However, additional revenue from the newly proposed levying of tickets will be Rs 5,64,100 per month. If the island ferry routes of Ribandar-Chorao, Sao Pedro-Divar and Old Goa-Piedade are excluded, the revenue is only Rs 1,41,100 per month. Thereby, the government is actually making a loss of about Rs 7 lakh per month and almost Rs 92 lakh in a year," the opposition leader said.

"Besides this loss, there will be inconvenience to passengers. The concept of free ferry service was introduced because it was realized that the cost of collection far exceeds the actual collection. The proposal by the RND is nothing but for the purpose of creating posts of ticket collectors," Parrikar alleged.

Parrikar said that he had written to chief minister Digambar Kamat about this. "I have requested him to ensure that such fraudulent proposals are not agreed to," he added.

Source: TOI

Property scam accused talks to sleuths from UK

JB Singh, an NRI advocate, wanted by police in connection with a property scam, talked to vigilance officials on Friday from UK. This follows vigilance raids in the office of Chess International, a firm owned by Singh in Jalandhar. Singh is considered the mastermind behind the property scam which triggered the transfer of estate officer (EO) Ashwani Sharma two months back.

Tara Singh, an NRI, had lodged an FIR with vigilance department alleging fraudulent transfer of 50% share of his property to one OP Mittal, who was his tenant in Sector 20. Vigilance investigations had found JB Singh as the person who supplied the property documents of Tara Singh from England to his tenant OP Mittal, who is still absconding.

Source: TOI

Rs 60,000 cr at stake? Leading telecom companies under CBI scanner

Continuing its investigations into irregularities in licence awards by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to nine operators in 2008, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) searched more premises, including the offices of leading telecom companies. According to some media reports telecom scam is estimated at Rs 60,000 crores.

A CBI spokesperson confirmed that searches were undertaken in 19 premises but declined to comment on whether telecom companies were raided. Sources say all operators that received licences for 2G or second-generation telecom services after 2001 were queried and asked to give copies of their original letters of intent. They say the effort would be to verify whether there were discrepancies between the original letters and those on DoT's files.
Reacting to the CBI action, Communications Minister A Raja told agencies that DoT had followed all the procedures laid down by telecom regulator Trai and all decisions were taken after consultations with the prime minister.

Demand for Raja's resignation

Demands for Raja's resignation, however, became louder today with both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India(M) joining the party. The CPI(M) in a statement said the minister could not evade responsibility and involvement in the issue when all his explanations for adopting the "first come, first serve" policy in awarding telecom licences in preference to an auction have proved baseless.

Undeterred, Raja ruled out resigning, pointing out that the CBI had not named him personally. Raja belongs to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the third-largest ally with 18 seats in the UPA's nine-party governing alliance.

Raja also received support from the Congress with party spokesman Manish Tewari said: "Since the FIR names only officials, the question of propriety does not arise...CBI has registered a case against some officials and the whole matter is still under investigation."

Asked if the allegations had impacted the UPA's image and whether the Congress was defending its ally, Tewari said: "I have nothing to add to what I said...The matter of propriety only rests there (with those named in FIR)".

Barrring Reliance Telecommunications, which categorically denied any raids, the other companies declined to comment on whether the CBI had searched their premises.

A spokesman for Unitech Wireless, in which the promoters had sold part of their stake soon after acquiring a licence, said the company had no comment to offer. So did Loop Telecom, a company promoted by the Ruias of Essar, the shipping-to-steel conglomerate, and their associates.

Yesterday, a CBI press release said it registered a case on 21 October against "unknown" DoT officials and "unknown private persons and companies and others" under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The press release also did not specify who made the complaints.

The CBI statement says it received information of a criminal conspiracy between certain DoT officials and "private persons and companies and others" to award licences to these companies by putting a cap on the number of applicants, which contradicted Trai recommendations.

Also, the licences were awarded to private companies on a first-come-first-serve basis at 2001 fee rates without any competitive bidding.

Searches were conducted at the Wireless Planning Cell (WPC) and in the office of Deputy Director General (Access Services) at Sanchar Bhawan, DoT's headquarters.

The move revives allegations against Raja who was criticised by telecom companies and political parties for awarding licences to new operators 2001 rates. These operators, in turn, sold part of their stakes to foreign companies soon after and made a killing.

Raja's critics said this method of awarding licences caused the government to forfeit revenue worth over Rs 40,000 crore as a result.

Suspicions arose last year when two new players -- Unitech Wireless Services and Swan Telecom -- sold part of their stake in their companies at huge premiums within weeks of acquiring the licences.

While Swan sold 45 per cent stake to Etisalat for Rs 4 300 crore, Sanjay Chandra -promoted Unitech group sold 74 per cent to Telenor for over Rs 6,100 crore.

DoT justified the sale on grounds that they were equity expansions, not stake sales, which carry a three-year lock-in.

Lecensed for a killing?

Company Promoter

Swan Telecom Etisalat (UAE) and Dynamix
Balwas Group

Datacom Solutions Mahendra Nahata and Dhoot
of Videocon Group

Unitech Wireless Unitech Group and Telenor (Norway)

Loop Telecom Ruias and associates

Shyam Sistema Mts (Russia) and Shyam Group

S-Tel Batelco (Bahrain) and C Sivasankaran

Allianz Infratech Ajay Singh (promoter of Spicejet)

Ashish Deora and Associates

Reliance Communications Anil Ambani

Tata Teleservices Tatas

These companies, which were offering Cdma services, were given dual licences allowing them to enter Gsm services
DoT was also criticised for the first-come-first-serve basis for allocating spectrum, radio frequencies that enable mobile communications, even though the number of bidders outnumbered the number of licences that were issued -- there were 575 bidders for 120 licences.

DoT also imposed a cut-off deadline of 25 October, 2007 to consider applications. The deadline was imposed suddenly and without explanation, deterring many bidders.

CBI's investigations come a week after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee admonished Raja in a strongly-worded letter over delays in auctions of 3G licences from December this year to June next year. DoT said it had delayed 3G auctions on grounds that the defence ministry had deferred releasing spectrum on schedule as it had promised.

Source: MSN News

Credit card scam busted, suspected kingpin held

The police on Friday claimed to have busted a major credit card racket with the arrest of a Sri Lankan Tamil, said to be the brain
behind the operation in which credit cards were cloned using a skimmer, an embossing machine and other equipment.

On October 15, the police arrested Harikumar when he attempted to make purchases using a fake credit card in Perambur under the Sembium police limits. When questioned, he revealed that the barain was Umesh alias Jatti, a Sri Lankan Tamil settled in Canada who had recently come to Chennai and was staying near Porur. The police recovered four fake credit cards from Harikumar and other details about the prime accused. The case was then forwarded to the central crime branch for further investigation.

Special teams nabbed Umesh, a marine engineer, from a residence in Porur on Friday. During the interrogation, he revealed that he had got several blank credit cards sent from Malaysia by agents to his address by courier. He had also obtain the particulars of credit cards issued in Canada from some friends in that country where he had spent many years. Later, he got engraved and embossed the particulars on the empty credit cards along with false names and other details. He also prepared fake driving licences, PAN cards, passports, meant to be shown to suspicious shop-keeper while making the purchases.

The police recovered from Umesh's house 24 fake credit cards and several empty credit cards, apart from a laptop in which the credit card details about persons living abroad were stored. The sophisticated equipment used to engrave and emboss the credit card particulars on empty credit cards was also seized.

During the interrogation, the investigating officers found that Umesh had sent many agents across the state and also to neighbouring states to make purchases using the fake credit cards. "We believe that Umesh and his agents may have cheated shops to the tune of Rs 50 lakh in the state. He also informed the investigating officers that he had supplied at least 150 fake credit cards to many agents," a senior police officer said.

"This is a big racket and we have managed to arrest the kingpin. Still, special teams are on the job investigating whether more people are involved in the operation," city police commissioner T Rajendran told The Times Of India.


Telecom scam: Go after the corrupt

IT IS welcome indeed that the Central Bureau of Investigation has started digging into the murky circumstances in which fresh mobile telecom
licences were issued in 2008. We hope that the CBI would get to the bottom of the matter, indeed, that the agency would be allowed by its political masters to get to the bottom of the matter. Licences were issued on a 'first-come-first-served' basis and a cut-off date had been adopted in the most arbitrary fashion. The licences were issued for fees that prevailed in 2001.

Subsequently, two companies that obtained a licence sold equity to external investors for princely sums. It has been argued that this additional investment represented fresh capital infusion into the licensee companies themselves and, therefore, their promoters could not lay their hands on the premium that investors were willing to pay for a mobile licence in the world's fastest growing telecom market. There is a fair bit of obfuscation in this argument. Once money comes into a closely held company's reserves, there are various ways in which the promoters can get their hands on that amount, including inter-corporate loans on liberal terms.

If the government had used auctions to issue fresh licences and the spectrum that went bundled with them, the exchequer would have captured the premium that investors are prepared to pay for a licence. True enough, there is a plausible argument for not carrying out auctions and issuing licences on the basis of some other criterion. The number of operators is determined by technology's ability to use available spectrum. Auctions cannot increase the number of competitors, only determine their identity. They push up the up-front capital cost of operations, putting upward pressure on tariffs, something that Indian consumers can do without.

So you could choose licensees even on the basis of a beauty parade. But then, there is no reason to allow a licensee or its promoters to extract windfall gains from the very act of getting a licence. If licences are issued on the basis of criteria other than auctions, windfall premia on the licensees' share transactions should be taxed away. The government should amend its flawed policy as well.

Source:Economic Times

Lokayutka unhappy with HC judges’ attitude

Lokayukta Santosh Hedge has expressed his displeasure over the attitude of judges of higher courts in not making their assets and liabilities public and for non inclination to come under the purview of Right to Information Act.

He told reporters here on Thursday that in a democratic set up all are equal and the laws applicable to common man are applicable to others, including judges.

"If judges are honest why should they be afraid of declaring their assets and liabilities. How will a common man believe the judiciary if there is no transparency?’’ Hegde asked.

Hegde said that within a few days of assuming the charge he had put his assets and liabilities on the official website.

The Lokayukta said that his institution had taken pains to investigate and prepare a report with regard to the mine scam.

He said that he had submitted his report to the government and recently he had got the action taken report from the government.

In its report, the government has stated what it proposes to do in future but it has not stated what was doing at present, he said. He said that he had recommended to the government to start Va l - ue Added Product beneath the mines so that the Central and the State Governments could earn revenue and the people of the region wo u l d get emp l o y - ment.

Hedge said that he was not satisfied with the government as it had not implemented his recommendation.

He said that he would submit a report on this and about 2-3 other factors to the government within a month.

Bangalore varsity issue

Hegde said that his institution was probing the allegations against the local inspection committee of Bangalore in recommending sanctions to a few colleges.

Prima-facie it has been provided that some of the committee members had taken bribe while recommending sanctions to colleges, he said.

Vexed Lokayukta not to ask for more powers

Santosh Hedge has said that as he was fed up with the government and henceforth would not ask for more powers.

He said that he was not asking for supreme power to the Lokayukta but the privilege to register complaints suo moto and file complaints against those who were found guilty. "The government can give these powers to the Lokayukta that will not harm it any way, but will help check corruption in society.

The promises of the previous and present governments in this regard are yet to be materialised.

There is no meaning in asking the government again and again," Hedge said.

He said that after he had assumed office in 2006, as many as 1,047 persons were trapped taking bribe while 240 raids have been conducted. "However, not even a single case had come up to the stage of filing chargesheet against the offenders in the court.’’

Source:ExpressBuzz(Indian Express)

Botnets Contributing More Than Ever to Click Fraud

Networks of hacked computers are being used more than ever to click on advertisements, a scam known as click fraud that cheats search engines, publishers and ad networks out of revenue.

For the third quarter of the year, 42.6 percent of fraudulent clicks came from botnet-infected computers, according to Click Forensics, a company that produces tools to detect and filter out fraudulent clicks. The figure is the highest in four years, when Click Forensics began producing reports. For the same quarter a year ago, botnets accounted for 27.5 percent of bad clicks.

Botnets are a powerful tool for hackers. They can be used to send spam, harvest data and conduct distributed denial-of-service attacks against Web sites. And the malicious software infecting PCs that are part of botnets is continuously being developed for other evil purposes.

"What we are seeing is that click fraud is now a component of these botnets as well," said Paul Pellman, CEO of Click Forensics.

Click Forensics doesn't calculate how much the click fraud costs advertisers and publishers, but it is a significant problem: For the latest quarter, Click Forensics calculates the overall click fraud rate was around 14.1 percent. The statistic comes from an analysis of traffic on 300 ad networks.

For advertisers and ad networks, that means that 14.1 percent of the clicks on their ads are bogus, which costs them money. Those who are perpetrating click fraud are getting much more sophisticated.

"It's never any one thing that identifies traffic as fraudsters," Pellman said.

An obvious indicator is a high frequency of clicks from a group of computers. Click Forensics employs machine-learning to spot anomalous patterns that may indicate click fraud. It also distributes a block list that publishers can use to keep low-quality traffic coming from known click-fraud offenders, Pellman said. The highest volume of bad clicks for the latest quarter came from the U.K., Vietnam and Germany.

If a computer is infected with botnet click-fraud code, the program will open a browser window that has a length and width of zero, which is invisible to the user, Pellman said. It will then cycle through preprogrammed Web sites and click on certain ads.

The latest trick has been to let the botnet's computers click on ads with a low frequency across a high number of computers. The goal is to make the traffic look "as much as possible like real traffic," Pellman said.

"The fraudsters continue to get more and more sophisticated," he said.

Source: PCWorld.com

When who’s who becomes who’s he at ISB

Back in the nineties a certain Professor Bala Balachandran met up with his long time friend Rajat Gupta, then the managing director of McKinsey, in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka to mobilise finances for a world-class B-school in India. Together the two started International School of Business, ISB for short, in Hyderabad in 2001.

Balachandran, a founding member of ISB, cannot forget how Gupta took it upon himself to assemble a team that read like the who’s who of global business to provide the financial muscle for ISB. And on Gupta’s list was his McKinsey colleague Anil Kumar, who joined the institute’s executive board.

When the news broke earlier this week that Kumar was involved in a multi-million insider-trading fraud perpetuated through Galleon Hedge Fund based out of New York, the industry and academia were shocked and didn’t quite know how to react.

This has obviously not been the best of times for the institute, which was ranked 15th globally in the top B-schools list by Financial Times 2009 and second in Asian business schools. And while every top corporate and academician is rushing to brush these incidents under the carpet, it isn’t that easy to ignore them.

Kumar’s alleged involvement in $20 million scam, along with billionaire Rajarathanam, wasn’t the first blow to ISB. Less than a year ago, the institute’s former dean Mendu Ram Mohan Rao had to leave owing to his reported involvement in the Satyam scam.

Small wonder then, Balachandran, who went on to found the Chennai-based Great Lakes Institute of Management and is now a professor emeritus at Northwestern University in the US, but is no longer associated with ISB, is a disturbed man. “Well, it’s obvious that sometimes, ‘who’s who’ becomes ‘who’s he’, especially when incentives turn into greed and profitability becomes profiteering.”

But he feels that the dent in brand ISB may not be for long. “The two incidents (Rao and Kumar) in a year's time may tarnish the image of leadership, but an academic institution is not a business and this temporary aberration will wither away in less than a year,” he said in an e-mailed response to Financial Chronicle. Balachandran cited the case of Krishna G Palepu, from Harvard Business School who was one of those allegedly involved in the Satyam scandal as an independent director on the company’s board, to prove his point.

Kumar, who operated out of Santa Clara in California, allegedly obtained insider information relating to McKinsey clients. “During August 2008 – September 11, 2008, he profited from trading in AMD stock through Galleon,” said the US Department of Justice charge sheet.

McKinsey was quick to issue their official response: "We were distressed to learn that Kumar has been arrested. We are taking this matter very seriously and are making every effort to understand the facts of this situation as well as we can. Kumar has been placed on an indefinite leave of absence from McKinsey." But the company was equally quick to go off media after that – Rajat Gupta, chairman emeritus of Mc Kinsey, who is also chairman of ISB, was unavailable for comment when Financial Chronicle tried to reach him.

And ISB is no ordinary B-school. It has, in under a decade, managed to hold it own against the big daddies like the S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, Management Development Institute and of course, the IIMs. ISB has academic associations with the likes of Kellogg School of Management, Wharton School and London Business School.

The best in the industry come talent-hunting here – Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nokia, Infosys, Wipro, Microsoft, HSBC, Citibank and Novartis, to name just a few. And the money is more than impressive: while the average salaries offered to graduates in 2009 was $119,022, domestic salaries averaged at Rs 15,05,000 per annum. And this was in the recession year.

As for the executive board, Kumar shared space with names like Reliance-ADAG group chairman Anil Ambani, Godrej group chairman Adi Godrej, Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj, ArcelorMittal president Lakshmi Mittal, ITC chairman Yogesh Deveshwar, Infosys chief mentor N R Narayana Murthy and Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal. Ambani, incidentally, was Kumar’s class fellow at Wharton.

“ISB is a prestigious organisation whose brand profile cannot get diluted due to one-off cases like this. Besides, in Kumar’s case, nothing has been proved yet,” said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of Bangalore-based Biocon, who is on the executive board of ISB. Most other members simply did not respond to any communication from Financial Chronicle.

Viren Rasquinha, former hockey international and COO, Olympic Gold Quest, from ISB’s class of 2009, seconds Mazumdar Shaw. “Initially, it was a little shocking to hear about the incident, but it’s a misconception that years of working on reputation can be undone by one stray incident. ISB's brand isn't going to be affected by this incident,” he said.

Ajit Rangnekar, the dean of the institute, who is normally amiable with the media, has resorted to non-committal responses like, “Such things happen. We need to wait and see,” when asked about the issue. He has been trying to underplay the incidents and held a brave, impassive face as ISB hosted two high-profile events in Hyderabad on Thursday – an entrepreneurship conclave organised in association with The Indus Entrepreneurs and a round table on corporate governance with leading PSUs held in their campus.

D S Rao, director of ICFAI Business School, too thinks that this wouldn’t affect ISB’s standing in the academia for too long. “One shouldn’t forget that an institute is separate and a much larger entity than an individual associated with it. Individuals come and go, but good institutes stay on,” he said.

His words seem to find an echo in the industry as well: “ISB is a great institute which has done some great work in the field of business education. Some of the biggest names of corporate India are associated with it. Stray incidents like these would not tarnish its brand value,” said Amit Prasad, chief executive officer and managing director of Satnav Technologies.

Head hunters too are of the opinion that it won’t affect the placements of the students in the institute. “Across the US, it’s common to see CEOs of all top companies on the board of NGOs or educational institutions. But in the face of corporate scams, these institutes are rarely affected. I don’t see any reason why students from ISB will receive any less lucrative offers than what they have been receiving so far,” said B S Murthy, CEO of hiring firm Leadership Capital.

But not everyone is being that kind. “What is most saddening, after all these incidents, is that our entire corporate structure is utterly spineless and what’s more shocking is that people are quite at ease with it. This is indeed alarming and frightening,” said Prof Suman Mukherjee, director of Birla School of Management and J D Birla Institute in Kolkata.

Debashis Chatterjee, director of IIM Kozikode, would like to see the institute being more pro-active: “ISB has to come clean after these events. It is a matter of standing in front of a group of students. You cannot do that when you have tainted individuals on the board. While you can claim to be honest, what is more important is you also have to be perceived to be honest.”

Even Rasquinha feels just as in the case of team sports, the individual is not bigger than the spirit of the sport itself. It is important that B-schools and the corporate world are careful and ethical.

Most agree that the twin episodes have thrown up larger questions of selecting governing board members and their mandatory evaluation at least once every three years. There are suggestions for compilation of centralised database on such scandals and individuals by the ministry of corporate affairs.

Rajat Gupta’s friend, Balachandran cited the practice at Bauer College of Business in Houston, where the chairman and members of the board commenced a practice of self-evaluation. “Such evaluation is prevalent in many corporate houses back in India, like the Godrej group. Adi Godrej should bring in the practice to ISB as well,” he said.

Source: MyDigitalFC.com

AIT scam: Captain, others appear in court

Punjab’s former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh along with others appeared in a Mohali court on Wednesday in connection with the
Amritsar Improvement Trust land scam.

The defense counsels had moved an application before the court, submitting that the case proceedings be stayed till Supreme Court gave its findings on three petitions filed by accused Jugal Kishore Sharma, Capt Amarinder Singh and Chaudhary Jagjit Singh.

They submitted that the matter was heard by the division bench of Supreme Court and the case was referred to full bench. After completing the arguments, the decision was kept pending.

During the arguments, defense counsels - including A P S Deol, Atul Nanda and Ramdeep Partap Singh - pleaded that the proceedings should not be carried further and the matter be heard only after the apex court decision. The prosecution, however, argued that the matter pending before the Supreme Court was a separate issue.

The prosecution further submitted that a report under Section 173 (preventing service of summons or other proceedings, or preventing publication thereof) had already been filed.

After hearing both the sides, the court fixed October 23 for order on arguments, while November 21 was set for framing charges in the case.

Apart from the former CM, ex-local bodies minister Jagjit Singh, former AIT chairman Jugal Kishore Sharma and 11 out of 13 others named as accused in a criminal case registered by Punjab Vigilance Bureau also appeared in the court. Nachhatar Singh Mavi, whose son was unwell, had sought an exemption.

Eighteen persons were named in the said FIR, out of which former cabinet minister Raghu Nath Sahaipuri and senior Congress leader Kewal Krishan have already expired.

VB had filed a chargesheet against the accused, charging them with releasing 32.10 acre of AIT land for development by private colonizers in violation of rules. A complaint regarding the matter was moved by senior Congress leader and former assembly deputy speaker Bir Devinder Singh. The former CM and others were booked under Prevention of Corruption Act and accused of cheating, forgery, tampering of official records and criminal conspiracy.

source: TOI

PIL seeks action against US auto firm

A writ petition was filed in the High Court on Tuesday seeking mandamus (court order asking a government officer to perform mandatory or ministerial duties) to the Centre to take stringent actions against Bush Hog, a USbased automobile company.

The petitioner alleged that Bush Hog committed a financial fraud to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees in Karnataka by duping ANZ International Manufacturing Pvt Ltd at Dobbspet.

Hearing the PIL filed by Karunada Sene, a Kannada organisation, the division bench headed by PD Dinakaran asked the petitioner to approach a single bench seeking alternative remedy.

According to the petitioners, Bush Hog had entered into an agreement with ANZ International Manufacturing Pvt Ltd in Dobbspet regarding the purchase of multi-utility vehicles (MUV). Bush Hog had agreed to buy 10,000 MUVs per year from ANZ. After the agreement, ANZ had borrowed a loan of Rs 56 crore from Canara Bank. However, Bush Hog, owned by the famous industrialist Henry Crown’s family, refused to buy MUVs, causing ANZ to shut down its operations at Dobbspet and lay off over 900 workers.

The Centre has not taken any steps to prevent trade terrorism by greedy merchants like Bush Hog, which is ruining India’s economic stability, the petitioner said.

The petitioner has asked the court to direct the external affairs ministry to lodge its protest via an apt forum.

Source: Indian Express

SC asks CBI to get samples of dead PF scam accused

The Supreme Court today directed CBI to entrust viscera samples of Ashutosh Asthana, prime accused in multi-crore PF scam, to AIIMS, Delhi, and asked the magistrate probing his mysterious death to submit his report directly to it within eight weeks.

Rejecting the plea for a probe by a retired "upright" police officer like Kiran Bedi or Prakash Singh, former Uttar Pradesh DGP, as several judges are allegedly involved in the PF scam, the apex court said since a magisterial inquiry has already been announced by the UP government there cannot be any parallel probe.

Ashtana was found dead in his cell in Dasna district jail in Ghaziabad on Saturday.

"There cannot be a parallel inquiry. We will see later," the bench said when counsel Prashant Bhushan submitted that retired DGP Prakash Singh or former IPS officer Kiran Bedi should be entrusted with the investigation.

Source: PTI

Rice scam in Bangalore ISCKON temple?

The ISCKON temple in Bangalore stands accused of selling rice it was given free by the Karnataka state government, meant for the midday meal scheme for school children.
(click here to see the video)

Source: NDTV

Movie producer arrested for links with chit fund scam

Naseer Khan, the producer of Hindi movie “Shadow”, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a chit fund scam in Cuttack and later released on a personal bond, police said.

“He was arrested today from Cuttack. Later he was released on a personal bond of Rs.25,000,” said A.K. Roy, inspector general police, crime branch.

The crime branch of the Orissa Police had filed a case against Khan’s company, Greater Entertainment, for allegedly diverting the money raised through chit funds and multi-level-marketing to produce “Shadow”.

“He had come to de-freeze the account seized by the police earlier as we have frozen seven accounts amounting to Rs.196 crore. In this connection, he had come with his counsel and one of his associates. We arrested him and sought his custody, showing evidence that he has raised money through fraudulent means,” he added.

Released Aug 21, “Shadow” has Milind Soman and Sonali Kulkarni in lead roles and is directed by Rohit Nayyar. Naseer Khan, who co-produced the film with Shamshad Alam, has also acted in it.

Source: Entertainment Daily

EOW seeks I-T department help in Limo fraud case

The economic offences wing (EOW) of the city police has written to the income tax department (I-T) and Serious Fraud Investigation Office

(SFIO) to probe into the accounts of the tainted investment firm City Limouzines and its sister concern City Realcom. However, both I-T and SFIO are yet to coordinate with the EOW, a source said.

The companies are currently being investigated by the EOW on charges of cheating after it failed to repay investors their interest since August. The company had offered 48% returns on the investments.

A police officer said the extent of the scam is not clear as the company has not submitted the required documents. "We expect at least 1.5 lakh people across the country to have invested. This takes the amount involved into crores of rupees. It is also not clear as to what the firm did with the money collected,'' the officer said.

Earlier too, the I-T department had initiated a probe after the firm's profits declared shot up every year exponentially though the business module was not a viable one. However, the probe did not reach anywhere, sources said. An I-T official said there are discrepancies in the functioning of the company in relation to the accounts but refused to elaborate.

The SFIO, set up under the ministry of corporate affairs, has power to carry out a special audit though it can't initiate criminal proceedings. After the investigations, it submits a report to the Centre. In 2007 too, after the first FIR was registered, the police had asked the SFIO to carry out a special audit but it did not happen.

Meanwhile, the office of the registrar of cooperative societies has written to the city collector, seeking assistance in getting the audit reports of the City Cooperative Credit Society. An official said they had sought the reports from the society but it refused. Several of the investment schemes promoted by the company was routed through the credit society.

Source: TOI

Malaysian consulate warns against job scams

Malaysian consulates in India have cautioned the public to be wary of lucrative job offers' being made by unscrupulous syndicates that

have been utilising names of reputed Malaysian companies to cheat people.

Diplomatic sources here said that there have been more than 350 cases of employment-related scams, with international syndicates placing advertisements online and offering jobs in Malaysia with handsome salaries. In some cases, people had remitted between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh through banks or online, but the offers turned out to be fake.

The Malaysian consulate in Chennai issues more than 350 visas -- employment as well as tourist -- a day. The consulate has urged people to double-check with the embassy in New Delhi or itself regarding all such job offers. The consulate has made it clear that ministries and agencies under the government of Malaysia never seeks payment online from applicants. The consulate has also cautioned people about prize-redemption schemes, lucky draws or contests offered by Malaysian companies on the Internet.

Acccording to the Malaysian consulate here, the fraudulent syndicates provide letters or certificates purportedly issued by the Malaysian government to facilitate visa clearance. Applicants are asked to make payments electronically for further assistance in the employment process.

Malaysian companies that have been chosen by the syndicates to attract applicants include: Petronas National Berhad, Caltex Oil Company, Alado Oil and Field Solution, Sarawak Boustead Petroleum, ?BHP Petroleum Company, Van Doren Oil Company, Amax Oil and Gas Company, Proton Edar Sdn Bhd, Billa Vista Hotel, ?Harbour View Hotel, Sarawak and many others.

The consulate-general of Malaysia in Chennai has said that it will pass on any information it receives to the Malaysian royal police and the immigration department for immediate action.

Dr Bernard D' Sami, coordinator, Arunodhaya-Migrant Initiatives, a city-based organisation working amongst migrant labourers, said: "The ancestors of Malaysian Indians went to that country several generations ago from southern India. The Indians toil for a pittance in Malaysia's rubber plantations, just as their ancestors did.'' Today, Malaysia's 1.8 million Indian population represents almost 8% of the country's total 22-million population. Nearly 90% of Malaysian Indians are of south Indian origin, made up of Tamilians, Malayalis and Telugus.

Source: TOI

Wall St scam pits desi vs desi

Preet Bharara made headlines and photos in the New York press, the national media, and in the Indian community in America last
Tuesday when he was sworn in as the US Attorney for Manhattan.

There are only 93 US Attorneys in the country, and each one is a prized presidential appointment, none more than the one for Manhattan, whose chief government prosecutor (Bharara's job) will try some of most high-profile cases in the US. His predecessors in the Manhattan office include Rudy Giuliani, who went on to become a national hero, and Louis Freeh, who became the FBI Director.

Few expected Bharara, 40, would be making even bigger headlines before the week ended.

Although President Obama had announced his appointment months earlier and he had been vetted in a Senate hearing since, the speed with which the India-born Bharara moved to bust an alleged insider trading racket within days of his swearing in has upheld the widespread previews that he's a man on a mission. The fact that the bust involved at least three 'desis,' including Sri Lankan billionaire Raj Rajaratnam and Indian-Americans Anil Kumar and Rajeev Goel in what Bharara says is a $20 million scam, has only added to his already considerable allure.

A naturalized American, Preetinder S Bharara was born in Ferozepur, Punjab, and moved with his parents to the US in 1970 when he was an infant. He grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Harvard in 1990 and Columbia Law School in 1993, before embarking on a legal and political path where he was marked as a rising star very early in his career.

After a legal track lasting eight years in two Manhattan law firms, Bharara joined New York Senator Charles Schumer as his chief counsel, a job which brought him into prominence in Washington DC, especially after his fearless exposure of political vendetta in the Bush administration's justice department. The case won him widespread praise and admiration for his even-handed, non-partisan approach.

When Schumer then recommended him to Obama for appointment as a US attorney, it was a shoo-in especially since he had already worked as a prosecutor in the Manhattan DA's office early on in his career.

But on Friday, Bharara rocked Manhattan by going after Raj Rajaratnam, the Sri Lankan billionaire boss of the hedge fund, Galleon Group and serving notice to corporate America, whose reputation is at an all-time low after a string of white collar crimes. "This case should serve as a wake-up call for Wall Street," Bharara said at a news conference, sounding an ominous note to the bastion of world finance.

The charge against Rajaratnam is insider trading. As head of the Galleon Group, Rajaratnam aggressively pursued insider information that many fund managers pride themselves on getting to stay ahead of the curve and make money for clients.

But there are grey areas here, and according to the prosecution, Rajaratnam crossed some red lines in getting non-public information from insiders who were allegedly in in breach of their fiduciary duty.

One of the defendants in the case is Rajiv Goel, an Intel executive, who, as the company's Director of Strategic Investments allegedly gave insider information to Rajaratnam about the chip-maker's investment in a company called Clearwire. This enabled Rajaratnam to make more than $ 500,000 in profit. Anil Kumar, a McKinsey executive who was working on reorganization in the chipmaker AMD, likewise figures in another episode.

Rajaratnam, whose net worth of $ 1.3 billion ranks him as the 559th richest person in the U.S, has denied the charges and confidently asserted that he is innocent. It now remains to be seen if Bharara has bitten of more than he can chew in the Big Apple where he first cut his legal teeth.

Source: TOI

Got a job offer in your inbox? It may be fraud

Conmen are now targeting freshers by sending them job mail in the name of big companies and duping them of thousands of rupees. Two years ago, information technology giant HCL stumbled upon a mail sent in its name offering a job to the recipient. But according to HCL, it had not sent the mail, reports IBNLive.

Many more cases have come to light since then. The emails are sent in the name of big companies like HCL and many other well paid jobs. "Basically they assess the database of job sites where the e-mail IDs and profiles of people are available. Then they target mostly freshers and people with six-nine months of experience who don't know how the industry operates and big companies work. The third thing is they mostly target non-metro areas," said Ravi Shankar B, Senior VP and HR head of HCL's India operations.

Usually, these fraudulent offers are mass mailed and sometimes even marked to 500 IDs. Out of these around 10-15 of the recipients respond to the offer. Then the conmen ask these freshers for a security deposit to be transferred into a bank account, before the final interview. Once freshers send the security deposit, the conmen stop responding and then disappear completely.

Since July, companies have been putting out public warnings. Some have even registered police complaints. Online job portal, naukri.com, has also approached the Economic Offense Wing in Mumbai and warns users against such mails. "We already have a message on our homepage alerting job-seekers to not fall prey to any e-mails offering jobs and asking for a security amount to be deposited," said Vibhore Sharma, Senior VP-Technology at Infoedge.

During the investigation it was found out that each mail had a different sender name, account number and bank. The conmen even gave fake company addresses. The authorities are still looking for these conmen but when they contacted the various banks to check on the account numbers given in the e-mails many accounts were still found to be active. Few banks also gave out information about transactions.

Source: SiliconIndia.com

Insider trading case puts Indian business school in spotlight

The Indian School of Business, backed by some of the leading global companies, has been dealt another black eye with an executive board member charged over the largest hedge fund insider-trading scheme.

Billionaire Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam and five others, were charged by U.S. investigators on Friday in an insider-trading case, generating profits of more than $20 million over several years.

Among those charged, Anil Kumar, a director at consulting firm McKinsey & Co., is on the executive board of the Indian School of Business (ISB), a premier management institute which was placed second among Asia's business schools this year.

"The incident is strange and shocking," said Rishi Sahai, managing director of Cogence Advisors, a New Delhi-based corporate advisory firm. "Greed has overpowered all the corporate and management rationalities."

Kumar, 51, a resident of Saratoga, California, is a friend of Rajaratnam's and a direct or indirect investor in certain Galleon funds.

Located in the southern Indian city and technology hub of Hyderabad, the school's governing board reads like a mini-Who's Who of global business, drawing on leaders from LVMH and Dell to Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

The school has academic alliances with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and the London Business School with an aim to bring in the best of global management practices.

The ISB, meant to rival prestigious the country's Indian Institutes of Management, boasts air-conditioned lecture theatres, a mix of four-bedroom and studio apartments, swimming pool, gymnasium, and yoga and aerobics centers.

ISB was dealt a blow in January after its dean Mendu Rammohan Rao resigned following widespread protests over his role as a board member of fraud-tainted Satyam Computer Services.

In December, Satyam made a botched attempt to buy construction firms in which management held stakes. The decision was announced after a board meeting attended by Rao, among others.

Satyam's founder Ramalinga Raju later confessed the attempt to acquire the firms was made to cover up gaps in the company's balance sheet that had been inflated for many years.

"Incidents like these make it amply clear that corporates and other institutions should go for better screening processes when selecting board members instead of just focusing on an individual's industry profile," Sahai said.

The ISB, conceived in 1995, formally started operation in 2001 as a not-for-profit organization.

The ISB ranked 15th in the Financial Times 2009 global MBA rankings, and placed second among Asia's business schools.

Kumar has sought leave from the board of the Indian School of Business "until he sorts this out," Dean Ajit Rangnekar said.

Kumar had an "enthusiastic" approach toward the school and was of "huge help," he said. "(It's) shocking. We need to wait and see," Rangnekar said. "Unfortunate things happen."

Source: Reuters

Lid off education scam in Hailakandi

Hailakandi police have unearthed a major scam in the education department running into lakhs of rupees.

The district police zeroed in on the deputy inspector of the schools, Hailakandi, Prafulla Kumar Deb, head clerk in his office, Debabrata Choudhury, and his junior colleague Selim Uddin Barbhuyan for allegedly running a racket that siphoned off over Rs 50 lakh from the government treasury.

The amount was meant for payment of general provident fund, gratuity and pension benefits to several retired teachers.

Deb was picked up by a posse of police officers from his office on Thursday morning in Hailakandi town and later set free after a few hours of intensive interrogation in the town sadar police station.

The two other accused were remanded in police custody till tomorrow to help the CID crack down on the racket.

A senior officer of the district police said the scamsters would divert funds meant for payment of provident fund, gratuity and pension to superannuated teachers to their personal bank accounts.

Several teachers were thus deprived of their retirement benefits at the end of their long service.

The officer said Choudhury confessed to having diverted Rs 25 lakh from the amount that was to be paid for superannuation, to meet his personal expenses.

The district police also seized a car used by the head clerk in course of their investigations.

The officer said the government auditors would soon scrutinise the official papers relating to the disbursal of the huge amount of funds meant for pensioners to assess the scandal and fix the responsibility of the different scamsters involved in this funds swindle.

While investigating this scam, the authorities got whiff of yet another racket in the district school department that aimed at regularising at least 35 middle school teachers’ retention posts.

A preliminary check revealed another racket in the Hailakandi education department that managed to include 35 names in the Retention List, thereby making them temporary teachers.

But the 35 posts were originally meant for regularised teachers of middle schools.

Besides names of some officials of the education department those of some leaders of the ruling Congress and a few “touts” have surfaced as the possible kingpins in this retention scam.

Source: The Telegraph

Beware! New, 'branded' Nigerian scamsters may soon come calling

Imagine Finnish mobile handset giant Nokia paying you millions for being a loyal customer, or Korean consumer electronics giant LG offering you truckloads of cash with an LCD television. You may also be pleasantly surprised when Orange, the international mobile phone services provider, decides to reward you Rs 22.5 crore on ‘their’ anniversary. This is no Diwali largesse, but a toll-free entry point to the new, improved Nigerian scam.

Earlier, the chicanery was by a `generous foreigner’ who left behind a fortune from his will in your unsuspecting name. Today, scamsters are masquerading as the brand you trust. If it’s not cellphone makers or service providers, then it’s from banks such as Oceanic Bank International (that’s a real Nigerian bank), claiming that you have won a fully-loaded debit card.

Even as the police are on their toes, and the occasional arrests are being made, what is alarming is the increasing number of people falling prey to such frauds.There are a lot more cases coming to light, especially in cities like Mumbai and its suburbs, say e-security experts.

In one instance, a bank manager who wishes to remain unidentified says he warned a customer against depositing Rs 15 lakh in an overseas account as “transaction fees” to claim his “reward”. But the customer’s reaction stumped him. “You are jealous of me,” the customer shot back.

Recently, the Oshiwara police in Mumbai swooped down on a scamster as he came to collect the “fees” to complete formalities from a woman residing in a posh Mumbai suburb.

Part of the reason why the number of victims falling for these tricks is increasing is the polished way in which they are being executed. Take the case of the Orange “celebration”, where the service provider is sharing its joy with Indian subscribers despite having no presence in the country since 2005. The messages that enter your mobile phone actually have a customised SMS name,

TM-OTDCUK, that is obtained after paying a fee to the telecom authorities. This customised SMS name can be obtained for as little as Rs 2,000, says an executive heading a digital marketing firm. After obtaining an SMS identity, the scamster can use mobile gateways to spam mass messages where the cost of an SMS is as little as 1 paise to 20 paise per message.

Cos not unduly worried

Perpetrators are increasingly using innovative ways to cheat people. They are using different means like mobile SMS and email to attract their targets. In most of the cases, they do thorough research on the people they intend to defraud ,” says Daniel R Pranjal , chief strategist, Strategy India, a consulting company that deals in this space.

Companies whose names are being currently used as baits in these scams aren’t unduly worried at this point of time. “Consumers are quick to figure out the genuine from the fake,” D Shivakumar, managing director of Nokia India , told ET.

He added that many customers approach the company when they get these mails or messages to find out if there is any truth in the treasure coming their way. LG told this newspaper’s correspondent to forward the mail that had come allegedly on its behalf promising a bag of goodies.

Source: The Economic Times

Death of PF scam accused shrouded in mystery

The death of the jailed prime accused in the multi-crore provident fund scam was shrouded in mystery today with a post-mortem unble to determine the probable cause, as his family demanded a CBI probe suspecting foul play.

43-year-old Ashuthosh Astana, the alleged brain behind the Rs 23 crore scam in which a number of judges of the higher and lower judiciary were allegedly involved, has been in jail since his arrest in January last year.

Five doctors conducted the post-mortem which was video-graphed but the cause of the death of could not be ascertained, sources said, adding his viscera samples have been sent for further examination.

The sources said only the viscera report could ascertain whether Astana died due to consumption of poisonous substances as suspected by the doctors.

Source: PIT

Officers swindle bank of Rs 1 crore

Two Canara Bank officers in complicity with the same number of Food Corporation of India (FCI) junior employees and a small-time hotel owner- all based in Bangalore- allegedly siphoned off Rs 1.17 crore loan amount from the Bank after supplying it with ‘95 fake salary slips’.

The CBI which investigated the case dating back to 2000-2001 has filed a charge sheet against the five accused under different sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Requesting anonymity, sources in the Bank said that internal inquiry had meted out punishment to the officials and they “have been downgraded”. When pressed further for elaboration, they claimed “it could be a case of gross lapses and inadequate verification and not of fraud.” The accused officials are still on the payrolls of the bank, sources said.

CBI officials told Deccan Herald that the main actors in “the conspiracy” include Canara Bank Branch Manager N Shivanna and another officer Shivananjaiah in Advance Department, both working in Corporate Consumer Finance Branch., Infantry Road, Bangalore.

The three other accused- a hotel owner B T Satya Narayanan and two junior officials of FCI K Vasudevan Namboodari, Assistant grade-II and N Eshwar, ancillary labour- entered into a conspiracy with Canara Bank officials in 2000-01 and allegedly submitted loan applications to the Bank in the name of FCI employees. The FCI office and the small time hotel, now closed, were located in close proximity to each other.


The salary slips of 95 FCI employees submitted along with the applications to the Infantry Road located Canara Bank, were either “forged” or “inflated”, according to the CBI.

“The applications were processed by the two officers of Bank and 95 loans total amounting to Rs.117.79 lakhs (approx) were sanctioned in the name of 95 employees of M/s Food Corporation of India during 2000-02”, CBI said which filed charge sheet against the five in the Sessions court .

Interestingly, these borrowers were daily paid service labourers and not the regular employees of the FCI who were also not entitled for loan under the specific ‘Can Budget Loan Scheme’. More so, the borrowers were not on the pay rolls of FCI and the Assistant Grade-II officer not authorized to issue the salary certificates or salary mandates in the name of individual borrowers.

The FCI officer Namboodari, had issued fake salary slips “by claiming to be Asst Manager (Labour Cell), FCI, Bangalore, with the help of other conspirators,” according to the CBI.
The Canara bank officials, allegedly a part of the conspiracy, had sanctioned the loan “without causing verification in to the bonafides of the borrowers and the documents submitted by them,” causing the bank a loss of Rs.1.17crore in these transactions.

Source: Deccan Herald

Accused in fertilizer scam detained under COFEPOSA

In the multi-crore fertilizer smuggling racket, which was busted by Chennai Sea Port Customs in August this year, one of the accused, B
S Venkatesh of Forever Exports, Bangalore, has been detained under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA). The non-bailable detention is for one year, which can be extended for one more year, if need be.

Based on the recommendations of Customs officials, the state government passed orders for the detention.

Out of the five export agents arrested in the case, detention orders under COFEPOSA have been issued against two more people, Mohammed Omar of Bangalore-based Kohinoor Traders and Stephen Rozario of Pondicherry-based Zandra Trading - said a senior Customs official.

Customs had blown the lid off the racket, in which some traders, middlemen and exporters were involved in smuggling of heavily subsidized fertilizers. They were involved in smuggling muriate of potash (MOP) from various parts of India to Malaysia and Vietnam by falsely declaring it as industrial salt. While 52 containers of MOP were seized from six container freight stations in Chennai and one at Thoothukudi, customs commissioner C Rajan also called back 49 containers which had already left Chennai port for Malaysia. In all, 2617 metric tonnes of MOP were seized in the operation.

Source: TOI