Crime and punishment

OUR BUREAUS | Updated on June 24, 2011 Published on June 20, 2011




The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) recently passed a consent order closing the case against Merrill Lynch for its alleged role in the May 2004 stock market crash, on payment of Rs 60 lakh. Earlier, the capital market regulator had let off another foreign institutional investor, the Royal Bank of Scotland (former ABN Amro Asia), which also paid Rs 60 lakh for settling a similar case.

The first among those accused by SEBI in the case, UBS Securities, settled its case after paying Rs 50 lakh in 2009. The loss to the investors in the market crash was reportedly in the order of Rs 2 lakh crore.

A leading investor said he failed to understand how SEBI arrived at the fine of Rs 50-60 lakh — peanuts for these FIIs — to settle such cases.

On official tour?

The Shipping Ministry convened a meeting of the Maritime States Development Council at Hyderabad last week. The Shipping Minister, the Shipping Secretary, the Director General of Shipping, the Nautical Advisor to the Government of India, the Chairmen of major port trusts and State ministers and government officials attended the meeting. Normally, the council meeting is held at a port city or in Delhi.

Andhra Pradesh is a maritime State, but Hyderabad is not a port city. Incidentally, the meeting turned out to be an occasion for all to attend a wedding reception hosted by the head of a national shipping body.

Customer is King

A young customer who walked up to Kulin Lalbhai, Chief Manager, Arvind Mills , at the ‘Denim Lab' in Hyderabad had a pleasant surprise on Friday.

Even as the customer was trying to explain how a pair of his favourite readymade branded jeans had faded out within a fortnight of his buying them, Kulin Lalbhai called the tailor and told him “ Inka maap leejiye (take his measurements) and deliver his jeans by evening ! And call me back on this”.

The Denim Lab, a customised ‘Arvind Store' has a tailor, accessories, and style patterns on hand to meet customer demands. When the boss acts immediately on customer feedback, then truly the customer is on his way to becoming the king, isn't he?

Retirement home

Pune, long anointed with the moniker ‘Pensioners' Paradise', seems poised to be the post-retirement destination of choice for a very high-profile personality indeed.

The to-be-pensioner is none other than the current occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Pratibha Patil, who completes her present five-year term as the country's First Citizen in July 2012.

According to those in the know, a certain piece of land in the leafy cantonment of Khadki has been earmarked to house Ms Patil's new home once she demits office.

In addition to the salubrious climate in Maharashtra's cultural and educational capital, the city has an added soft corner in the lady's heart: her daughter Jyoti Rathore lives in Pune and is the managing trustee of a hostel for working women in Pimpri.

Tihar FSI

For Mumbai real-estate developers, all calculations start and end with FSI (floor space index) or the extent of construction permitted on a given plot of land.

With multiple scams surfacing by the day and more and more high-profile guests in the Tihar Jail, the Chairman of the Sunil Mantri Group and past President of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, Mr Sunil Mantri, was curious to know the FSI accorded to the jail. Needless to say, he said the government should consider hiking it to permit new construction, given the steady stream of visitors. So much for ‘constructive' thinking!

IT refund woes

Have you received your IT refunds? Yeas and nays to this question may be divided across the country. “Why the delay in refunds?”, an aggrieved taxpayer asked none other than the Union Finance Secretary, Sunil Mitra, after the latter delivered a lecture on tax reforms in Hyderabad last week. Another taxpayer echoed a similar grievance. Mr Mitra handled this question with aplomb.

He explained how much the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had refunded and how efficient the Central Processing Centre in Bangalore is in deducting and refunding. You'd better file returns online, he advised tax-payers. “Several people told me they have got refunds,” he said. Pausing for a few seconds, he added: “Though, I haven't received mine,” sending the audience into peals of laughter.


While it is true that the famous ‘just-in-time' model adopted by Japanese auto giants worked wonders for their factories, the recent quake in that country has sparked off a raging debate globally about its robustness. This model involves almost no inventory.

According to a head of an auto parts major, most of the Indian companies have for years followed “just-in-case” model. This is just the opposite of the Japanese model and provides for inventory “just in case” anything goes wrong.

The Indian auto industry believes it is far more robust and workable than the Japanese model. Maybe global giants might just want to experiment with this time-tested Indian model.

Free, and for free publicity

A public sector bank recently invited a Bollywood actress to inaugurate its branch in Mumbai. While stars usually charge high ‘appearance fees', this one agreed to do it free.

But on one condition: her photograph must appear in the newspapers.

“Free, but for free publicity” said a photo journalist who was requested to cover the event.

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Published on June 20, 2011
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