Down Under and out?

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The top brass of the Vijay Mallya-owned United Spirits flew to Australia to hold a high-level meeting, but insiders say it is more of a holiday than anything else. However, once the officials return from Down Under, a major restructuring exercise is to be undertaken, now that Diageo is on board. Most of the top posts will probably go to Diageo-appointed officials. The next few months will also see Diageo's open offer to public shareholders of United Spirits, once the necessary approvals are in place. Could it mean that the Australian holiday is the last one for Mallya’s men in the company?

Defaulters welcome

An SMS received from a finance company: “Personal loan (2 lakh to 25 lakh) avail with /without papers; fast approvals, defaulters welcome. Call...” Need we say more.

Wife before Cabinet

The Cabinet Committee on Investment headed by the Prime Minister is regarded as the supreme panel, one that offers a new lease of life to those whose investments are stuck. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister may think otherwise, though.

On the evening of March 20, the ‘high level’ panel was meeting at Manmohan Singh’s residence to discuss the fate of oil and gas blocks which were stuck because of inter-ministerial differences. While the panel was taking up the issue of clearing eight oil and gas blocks hanging in limbo for Defence clearances, the Minister M. Veerappa Moily preferred to be by his wife's side. He sent the Petroleum Secretary to answer the questions raised by differing Ministries. Moily was attending the book launch of Malathi V Moily's ‘ Songs of Supplication’.

Bad wine in old world bottles

A relaxed evening on a private beach in Goa sipping Portuguese wine can be anybody’s dream. But if the wine happens to be a counterfeit manufactured in a local brewery and the visitor happens to be the Foreign Affairs Minister from Portugal, the dream can turn into a nightmare. So, when Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma met Portuguese Minister Paulo Portas recently in New Delhi, he had to hear an earful about cheap wine in plastic bottles labelled ‘Made in Portugal’ being sold in Goa. The counterfeit wine was bringing a bad name to fine wine from his country, the Minister complained, demanding strong action. Sharma assured Portas he would look into the issue and try to address the grievance. Nobody risked raising a toast to that!

Protect thyself

So what if you cannot protect women from assault and rape? At least, you can give them something to protect themselves. At least, this is what the Delhi and Punjab State Governments seem to believe. In its annual Budget, the Delhi Government made pepper-spray cheaper. The Punjab Government went one better. It exempted rollers and rolling boards ( chakla-belan) and also brooms from VAT. All these are considered very handy for women in situations of threat.

Just in time

AJW Express group, at the launch of its domestic courier business last week, tried to impress reporters that it was serious when it said parcels will be delivered to customers on time. In the middle of a press conference, a delivery person came running into the hall carrying a big parcel while bemused media persons looked on. “Sir, there’s a parcel for you,” said the delivery man and rushed towards the company’s CEO, who was answering reporters’ queries. “Thanks, okay, leave now. I am in a meeting,” he told the person, whose hands trembled as he collected the proof of delivery slip. The CEO opened the package and pulled out a big logo of the company. “Wasn’t this just in time,” he asked the audience. Talk about letting actions speak!

Published on March 24, 2013
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