Opinion

BL Diary - Adieu to a regulator

OUR BUREAUS | Updated on July 29, 2011 Published on July 25, 2011

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It is customary at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to hold a formal farewell for senior officials when they retire or leave. But there was no such formality (graced by the SEBI Chairman) for K. M. Abraham, whole-time member, who retired last week. If SEBI insiders are to be believed, there was no love lost between the member and the SEBI chairman. And the former refused a formal send-off. (At one stage, Abraham had even refused to sign the annual accounts of SEBI.) The member, who issued a number of high-profile orders, had apparently antagonised some corporate bigwigs also. As bad luck would have it, at the fag end of his career, it was reported that he was the subject of an income-tax probe for purchase of a residential flat in Mumbai. What a way for a regulator's job to end!

Ants in Antilla?

Once upon a time a palace built by a king destroyed a vast ant colony. Thousands of ants were killed. Those that escaped decided to teach the king a lesson. At midnight everyday, a large army of ants would march to the imperial bedroom and disturb the Queen. This upset the king and he asked his minister to find out a solution. The minister, who could not find any way out immediately, bribed the Palace astrologer, who asserted that ants are a bad omen and therefore the King should not be sleeping in the palace. Are there ants in “Antilla” too? The buzz is that Mukesh Ambani is yet to shift into his home as someone (an astrologer?) said it has an issue of “‘vaastu.” He is said to be spending only week-ends at the billion-dollar home, entertaining special guests.

Hosts' dilemma

The recent Cabinet reshuffle clearly threw organisers of events last week into a tizzy. If the relevant minister is no longer the minister, what do you do? Well, if you are the organiser of a United Nations Development Programme, you invite both the incumbent and the outgoing. It did so, at a recent climate change event. But clearly, the programme had been changed at the last moment and invitations made out in a hurry. Which is why the card had Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, as the Guest of Honour, while Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan was ‘also invited'.

Praise and discomfort

Sustained quizzing by shareholders does make chairmen at AGMs uncomfortable. But, at times, loads of praise embarrasses them more.

It was lady power to the fore at the recent JSW Energy AGM and the first three shareholders called upon by the management were women. Brushing aside the main agenda for the day, they were all praise for Jindal. One said Sajjan Jindal was a worthy son of a worthy father. Another went on to state that the success of JSW Steel was due to the blessings of Savithri Devi Jindal. Last, but not the least, he was asked to induct women on the board and, more specifically, his wife Sangita Jindal. While Jindal managed to match the smiles of his co-directors, he did make a valiant effort to mask his discomfort.

Bad timing

Not just a bad time but bad timing can also land you in trouble. A leading shipping company has learnt this the hard way. The Union Budget had imposed a five per cent duty on imported ships, but it was removed within days through a clarification issued by the Tax Department. The shipping company, which imported a ship in March, immediately after the Union Budget, paid the duty. Though the duty was subsequently lifted, the company is yet to get the refund. Reason: Apparently, the clarification is not clearly worded and the tax authorities are confused. What else is this but bad timing!

Fuel for the King

Kingfisher Airlines had a harrowing week, with dropping share prices and a cut in fuel supply from HPCL. But things are not all that bad for liquor-baron Vijay Mallya. With all the talk around the world about bio-fuel and alternative sources of energy, maybe the king of good times can brew up a good concoction of ethyl alcohol which can fuel Kingfisher Airlines back to good health!

That's Mumbai

At a busy Khau Gali in the Churchgate area of Mumbai, it was business as usual even the morning after the blasts on July 13. Barely a week after the blasts, a young man from Uttar Pradesh manning an idly-vada stall noticed a bag left unattended, and was visibly scared that it might be an explosive. The bag's owner, another seller in the area, soon picked it up, to the young man's relief. Even while appreciating the alertness of the new Mumbaikar, his boss had this to say: ‘ Aise darega tho Mumbai main nahin jamega'.

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Published on July 25, 2011
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