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SHAH RUKH KHAN, BACHCHAN FAMILY AND AJAY DEVGN GET ED NOTICES OVER FOREX REMITTANCES

MUMBAI: It’s not just Shah Rukh Khan who is battling a barrage of questions from the Enforcement Directorate. All members of the Bachchan family have been asked by the government agency to share details of their foreign exchange remittances over the past 13 years. Bollywood action hero Ajay Devgn has also received a notice from the agency seeking information on his cross-border remittances. Amitabh Bachchan, wife Jaya, son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya and Devgn were served notices a little over a month ago under Section 37 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema) which empowers ED to obtain preliminary information before starting an investigation. Mr Bachchan and his family members have to disclose outflows since 2004 – the year when the Reserve Bank of India introduced the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS). ED is probably examining the remittances under LRS and those separately done for business trips…All transactions have been through banking channels, an industry person told. ED’s enquiry pertaining to Khan’s transactions relates to his allotment of shares of the Indian Premier League franchisee to a Mauritius-based company of Jay Mehta, husband of Juhi Chawla — Bollywood’s actor of the ’90s.

SIX TELCOS UNDERREPORTED REVENUE BY RS 61,064.5 CRORE: CAG

NEW DELHI: The national auditor pulled up six telcos including the top three — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — for allegedly understating their revenue by Rs61,064.5 crore over five financial years, leading to the government losing out on Rs12,229.24 crore as payment from spectrum charges and interest, which are computed by using revenue as the base. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its latest report presented in Parliament on Friday, said there was under-reporting of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) by the top three as well as Aircel, Reliance Communications (RCom) and Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd. (SSTL). This led to revenue share payment to the government falling short by Rs7,697.6 crore, of which Rs4,859.27 crore was from the licence fee and Rs2,838.35 crore coming from the spectrum usage charge (SUC). Interest on the “short-paid” revenue share came to Rs4,531.62 crore for the period up to March 2016. We observed nonconformities with conditions of licence agreement in the accounts prepared by all six operators covered in audit due to which their AGR computed for sharing revenue with the government was understated, the national auditor said in its report.

CARLYLE BUYS 26PERCENT IN SBI CARD BIZ FOR OVER $250M

MUMBAI: Private equity investor Carlyle Group has struck a definitive deal to acquire 26 per cent stake held by GE Capital in SBI Card, the second-largest credit card issuer in India. Carlyle is said to have paid slightly over $250 million for the deal though the financial details were not disclosed in the announcement. TOI reported on March 22 that Carlyle had emerged as the front-runner to buy GE shares. SBI Card is operated through two joint venture companies, SBI Cards & Payment Services and GE Capital Business Process Management Services, which issue credit cards and process card transactions in the Indian market. Carlyle will own 26 per cent each in these two entities, with SBI holding 74 per cent. The transaction is expected to close during the final quarter of 2017. Sunil Kaul, managing director of The Carlyle Group, said, Our deep experience and operating expertise in the financial services sector, and a track record of successful public-private partnerships, will enable us to be a supportive and value-adding partner to SBI Card. Dinesh Kumar Khara, MD (A&S), SBI, said, We look forward to the new partnership capitalising on the significant opportunities that are opening up in the Indian market, especially in these interesting times of majorly cashless transactions.

RIL ANNOUNCES 1:1 BONUS, STOCK JUMPS TO 52-WEEK HIGH

MUMBAI: In what will be the biggest bonus share issuance in the country, Reliance Industries (RIL) has announced a 1:1 bonus for its shareholders on the 40th anniversary of its initial public offer (IPO). This will be the energy-to-telecom conglomerate’s first bonus share issuance in eight years and fourth in its listing history. The last time it had given bonus shares was in 2009, which, too, was in the same 1:1 ratio. It was in 1983 that RIL had for the first time issued bonus shares to shareholders. The latest bonus share issuance will double RIL’s share capital from Rs 3,250 crore to Rs 6,500 crore. The Mumbai-based corporate joins more than two dozen other companies that have announced bonus shares in recent months. In October 2016, its peer Indian Oil Corp (IOC) had declared 1:1 bonus shares and, last month, technology major Wipro had also given a bonus issue in the same ratio. Announcing the bonus shares at RIL’s shareholder meet, its chairman Mukesh Ambani said, “On such an occasion (40th IPO anniversary) and in keeping with our founder’s vision to share prosperity with all shareholders, the board has decided to recommend a bonus issue in the ratio of 1:1.” He added that it will be the country’s biggest such offer. The 1:1 bonus issue means that every shareholder of RIL will get one free share for every one held.

BACK TO ROOTS: ‘DUA’, UNANI & AYURVEDA ‘DAWA’ AT MUNNALAL DAWASAZ

Hyderabad: From the rarest of medicinal herbs from Nepal to the choicest of dry fruits from Afghanistan, you name it and you will find it all here at the 173-year-old Munnalal Dawasaz in the Afzal Gunj area of the Old City. The shop was set up in 1844 by two brothers Laxminarayan Vijayvargi and Sitaram Vijayvargi, who migrated from Rajasthan and sensed a business opportunity in the thriving Unani medicine practice in Hyderabad. The city had many hakeems practicing Unani medicine who required herbs to make medicines and to fulfil their demand, the duo used to procure herbs from all over the country. Apart from hakeems, even the ‘vaids’ practicing Ayurvedic medicine too became its customers. Soon, along with herbs, the brothers also started retailing spices and dry fruits at the Afzal Gunj premises. In those days, the shop did not have any name but the firm was registered as ‘Laxminarayan Sitaram’. “Since early days, we have been considered pioneers in sourcing herbs as hakeems and vaids would prefer to buy from us. The reason is that we have been very particular about sourcing herbs from the place it belongs to. The herbs acquire certain properties based on the soil in which they are grown and factors like air, temperature, heat etc play an important role. This helps in retaining their medicinal properties. Till today, we ensure that we procure herbs from their place of origin, thus ensuring quality and efficacy,” says Akash Vijayvargi, a member of the fourth generation of the Vijayvargi family who runs the business along with his two brothers — Vikas and Deepak.

“Balkishanji was fondly called ‘Munna’ and the shop was known as ‘Muniya ki Dukaan’. This is how, the shop was christened Munnalal Dawasaaz but the firm’s name remains Laxminarayan Sitaram,” he says, adding that it was also during Balkishan’s time the existing building was constructed.

Balkishan was joined by his only son Bhagwandas in the late 1950s when a lot of Unani and Ayurvedic pharmacies had sprung up in Hyderabad, thus ensuring robust business. Bhagwandas also added regular kirana items to the shop. “In a way it was a supermarket of sorts. My father (Bhagwandas) had an idea that when people come to buy spices, herbs or dry fruits at our shop they must also be able to get other regular items so that they do not have to go elsewhere,” he explains. Despite adding new segments, Munnalal Dawasaz never lost its mojo i.e. the quality of its herbs and till today draws customers from across neighbouring states, who swear by the quality and efficacy of its herbs in dried as well as powdered forms. Over the years, not only has the shop but the clientele too has evolved. “We are seeing a surge in demand for herbs. These days a lot of educated people are taking interest in understanding the medicinal properties of these herbs and using it for various purposes. In fact, we see many people, who are well traveled, walk up to us and ask for a certain herb… this also helps us in expanding our portfolio,” Deepak says. Today, Munnalal Dawasaz has set up two outlets – one in Banjara Hills Road No 12 and another at Appa Junction. Apart from its physical outlets, it also has an online presence and is still a favourite among Unani medicine practitioners as well as Ayurveda enthusiasts who believe in the magic of herbs.

TELCO, DTH STOCKS HIT BY FREE JIO PHONE OFFER

Mumbai: RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani’s announcement, that his telecom venture Jio will offer free 4G-enabled handsets to customers and also cut pre-paid tariff for some of its plans, hit telecom stocks hard in Friday’s relatively rising trading session. Bharti Airtel, the largest competitor for Jio, lost 2.1percent on the BSE to Rs 411, while Idea Cellular, which is in the midst of a merger with global telecom major Vodafone’s India operations, closed 3.1percent lower at Rs 92. Along with pure telecom services players, cable and DTH operators also witnessed selling pressure as market players feel that Jio’s aggressive data plans could push customers towards consuming more video content on hand-held devices rather than on televisions. Dish TV was down nearly 6percent while Hathway was down 2.6percent, even as GTPL Hathway lost 2.3percent and Sun TV closed 2.7percent lower.

INDIA, CHINA SEEK REDUCTION IN FARM SUBSIDIES BY WEST

NEW DELHI: Even as the Chinese state media turned shriller on India and accused foreign minister Sushma Swaraj of lying to Parliament on the Doklam impasse, India and China are working together at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to get developed countries such as the US and the European Union members to reduce subsidies for farm products that are detrimental to exports from developing and poor countries. Earlier this week, the two countries put out a joint proposal to revive talks on a more balanced set of rules for global farm trade in the run up to a meeting of ministers in December. On Thursday, at a meeting in Geneva, India presented the paper and argued that the current WTO agreement on agriculture contains a major asymmetry as it allows developed countries access to enhanced support and sought its removal as a pre-requisite for talks on reforms for subsidies provided in the domestic markets. “Only in this way will it help to address some of the inequities built in WTO rules,” a source said, quoting an Indian representative. Indonesia, Bolivia, Philippines, Turkey and Uganda have supported the China-India paper, which is meant to reduce some of the inequalities in favour of the West, said sources. China is also working with the G-33, comprising India and led by Indonesia, to seek a permanent resolution to the problem of spending caps imposed on governments in developing countries for procuring and maintaining food stocks, such as those with the Food Corporation of India. The issue was discussed at length on Friday along with the proposal to provide for a special safeguard mechanism that the developing countries will be able to use in case of a surge in imports. The two proposals have been thorny issues for India, which had flagged its concerns during the two previous ministerial meetings in in Bali (2013) and Nairobi (2015). In fact, the Narendra Modi government had got the WTO members to agree to change the decisions taken in Bali on stockholding. But trade is clearly different from border issues. Unlike China, which is playing ball with India at the WTO, Pakistan has chosen to remain hostile. In fact, Islamabad was among those fighting for the cause of up-to-date rules and price calculations for developing countries on public stockholding but at the last minute dropped out of the pack and aligned itself with the US and the EU position.

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