Below the line

| Updated on February 24, 2020 Published on February 24, 2020

Delhi trumps Centre!

The Delhi government will showcase the education models that have been adopted by it during US President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India. Melania Trump will visit a Delhi government school. However, according to people familiar with the matter, both the Centre and the Delhi government wanted to showcase their schools to the first lady. But it is the Delhi government that has gone one-up.

SC clean chit raises hopes

The Supreme Court has set aside a tribunal order freezing the assets of former PNB chief Usha Ananthasubramanian in connection with the alleged fraud perpetrated on PNB by diamantaire Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. As a result, several individuals, trusts and companies are now hoping to get relief from the investigative agencies.

The apex court ruled that the National Company Law Tribunal order freezing the assets of Ananthasubramanian and the NCLAT decision to uphold it were beyond their jurisdiction. She had moved the apex court challenging the NCLAT decision, which capped her monthly withdrawals at ₹1 lakh.

Things may not be all that easy for other individuals who have been proceeded against by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Much would depend on whether they have been proceeded against by the investigative agencies for DA (disproportionate assets) or not. Relief will not be forthcoming with respect to any case under DA. What worked in favour of Ananthasubramanian was that there was no allegation of her receiving any pecuniary benefit for the transaction under scrutiny.

Platform squatters

The Indian Railways has finally embraced platform ‘squatters’, but not the ones who don’t leave railway property. In a novel exercise, the Anand Vihar Railway station in Delhi has installed a ‘squat kiosk’. This machine doles out platform tickets free of charge to those who perform a certain number of squats before it. The machine is aimed at encouraging fitness and is similar to devices installed in other countries that are keen to promote fitness.

Trouble of another kind

The RBI appointed administrator for DHFL and the Committee of Creditors are now faced with a problem of plenty as at least 24 suitors have lined up to acquire the troubled mortgage lender under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The entire process has to be completed within the 330-day timeline set under the IBC, and this is prompting the CoC to work long hours.

The recent CoC meeting was held for seven hours on the trot. The ticklish situation has arisen because several interested parties want different parts of the company — some want the entire company, some just the retail book, others the wholesale book, and some only the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) book.

Seriously speaking

Whispers were rife in the Health Ministry that Indians were evacuated from China, in light of the deadly coronavirus threat, against World Health Organisation guidelines. The Prime Minister’s Office, it appears, insisted on going ahead with the risky evacuation. Officials had even submitted a report that the Manesar facility of the Indian Army was unfit for human habitation during the quarantine period of two weeks, but that report was overlooked as there was no other place where the Indians could be accommodated.

Braving the virus

The coronavirus scare doesn’t seem to have dented the spirits of Australian businesses visiting India with their Trade Minister Simon Birmingham this week. There are only some delegates who have cancelled their trip with the majority preferring to go ahead with their plans, according to a person closely tracking the visit. The preferred route for most, understandably, is via Dubai rather than Malaysia or Singapore.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on February 24, 2020
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