COAL SCAM : OPEN LOOT


An Article from ‘Common Man Speaks’

18 AUG/12
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Judging by the latest CAG report that has brought to light the coal scam or coalgate worth Rs 1.86 lakh crore, we can say that no other government has brought as much shame to India in its tenure as the current UPA. With this scam, the government has achieved an almost impossible feat of breaking its own record of Rs 1.70 lakh crore, which was scored in the 2G scam.
By cartoonist Kureel Manoj
But during all these scams, what has been more annoying is that they have never accepted the fact that there is a scam in the first place. In the case of this coal scam too, the Congress has refused to accept the CAG report! Naturally, due to such denials, they have also rubbished off all possibilities of at least a probe in the issue.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the Coal Minister when the scam took place but he, along with his party, has plainly refused to take responsibility and worse, even speak anything on it! Like a number of scams that has happened during his tenure, he has washed his hands off of this one too, whose estimated figure is just unthinkable!

It is also impossible to forget that exactly a year ago, Singh had given a written promise to Anna Hazare of passing a strong Lokpal Bill. We all know how his promise turned out to be a sad joke. This also proves he and his government just don’t want a decline (forget end) in corruption.

With scams worth unthinkable amounts taking place right under Singh’s nose and he not doing a thing about it, the big question is – What right he has to continue to sit on the chair of the PM? Sorry to say this but we have had enough of your silent (in actions as well) attitude to a long list of scams amounting to lakhs of crores of loss to the country. As it is, due to the pro-corruption attitude of you and your so-called government, you have proved to be as good as the British! If you have 0.001% shame left, please resign

Coalaveri: When Netadom Went Mining

Most Companies Against Whom CBI Has Filed FIRs Have Links With Political Heavyweights

Josy Joseph TNN

       New Delhi: Most of the companies against whom FIRs were filed by the CBI on Tuesday have either direct or indirect links with the politically powerful. Sources in CBI and CVC say more cases could be filed soon, naming more companies with political connections.

     On Tuesday, the CBI named Nav Bharat Power, JLD Yavatmal, JAS Infrastructure and AMR Iron and Steel among the firms accused of cheating and suppressing facts to get blocks. Nav Bharat was started by two individuals from Andhra Pradesh and sold to Essar, CBI says, for a staggering profit. Essar, charged in the 2G scam, bought Nav Bharat as a subsidiary of Essar Power, which in turn is a subsidiary of Essar Energy Plc.

     Of the other four companies, JLD Yavatmal and JAS Infrastructure are associated with Congress MP and publishing baron Vijay Darda. While JLD Yavatmal is reportedly named after his father, he had a minority stake in JAS Infrastructure, where his business partner was Manoj Jayaswal. Darda has denied he used his influence to help these companies. The CBI FIR names Darda.

    Jayaswal and associates have over 20 coal blocks. The Abhijeet group’s promoter is said to have regularly hosted senior Congress and BJP leaders at his home and functions like his children’s weddings.
Vaibhav Tulsyan, a businessman who started Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, too was raided. He said he had sold the company to an associate of Madhu Koda, former Jharkhand CM, now in jail for corruption.

       “Because of Naxal problem we couldn’t run the company. When Vijay Joshi, a close Koda aide approached us with a good offer, we sold the company to him. At the time of coal block allocation, the company was with Joshi,” Tulsyan told a news agency. Filings with the corporate affairs ministry say by 2011, Vijay Joshi was holding over 97% of company shares.
Recently, it emerged that union minister Subodh Kant Sahai in 2008 recommended to the PMO a coal block for a company in which his brother was director.
PRIVATE UNLIMITED Snapshot of the five companies CBI filed charges against 
NAV BHARAT POWER
(Hyderabad)
Sold to Essar in 2010
Promoter of Nav Bharat Prasad Brothers
Got coal blocks in Rampia and Dip-side Rampia in Orissa
Directors | P Trivikrama Prasad, YHC Prasad
VINI IRON AND STEEL UDYOG (Kolkata)
Sold to Vijay Joshi, close aide of Madhu Koda
Accused named by CBI promoter Vaibhav Tulsyan
Got coal blocks in Rajhara North in Jharkhand Directors | Sanjeev Tulsyan, Prashant Tulsyan, Vaibhav Tulsyan, Nisha Tulsyan, Vimal Tulsyan, Nirmala Tulsyan, Hemant Kr Agarwal, Navin Tulsyan
JLD YAVATMAL ENERGY
(Nagpur)
Got coal block in Fatehpur East in Chhattisgarh
Promoted by Jayaswal Group, close aides of MP Vijay Darda Directors | Vijay Darda, Rajendra Darda, Devendra Darda, Manoj Jayaswal, Anand Jayaswal, Abhishek Jayaswal
JAS INFRASTRUCTURE CAPITAL (Nagpur)
Got coal block in Matihagarhi in Jharkhand
Promoted by Jayaswal Group, aides of MP Vijay Darda Directors | Manoj Jayaswal, Abhishek Jayaswal, Anand Jayaswal
AMR IRON AND STEEL
(Nagpur)
Got Bander coal block in Maharashtra
Promoted by Jayaswal Group, aides of MP Vijay Darda Directors | Arvind Jayaswal, Manoj Jayaswal, Ramesh Jayaswal, Devendra Darda

CBI at JLD Yavatmal Energy Limited office in Nagpur

One family that struck gold in coal mines

Supriya Sharma TNN

       New Delhi: Of the five companies raided on Tuesday, three belong to one family – the Nagpur-based Jayaswals. Split in two businesses, they are among the largest beneficiaries in the coal block allocations, holding 10 blocks with more than 900 million tonnes of coal. What is more striking is that they managed to get such a large allocation with only one project running on the ground.
Outside Raipur, in the smog-filled industrial area of Siltara, exists a steel plant run by Jayaswal Neco company. Headed by the family patriarch Basant Lal Jayaswal, the company is managed by his son Ramesh Jayaswal. Until a few years ago, Ramesh’s elder Manoj was part of the Neco Group. But following a family feud, he branched out, taking control of companies under the banner of Abhijeet Group.
Business circles in the region believed the brothers had parted on an acrimonious note and that their businesses, Neco and Abhijeet group, were separate. But on Tuesday, when an unknown company AMR Iron and Steel was raided, and journalists scoured through its returns filed with the registrar of companies, they discovered that the brothers jointly held stake in the company, with their father and family. People in Nagpur are now speculating if AMR in the company’s name stands for ‘Arvind, Manoj, Ramesh’. Arvind is their older brother. But the larger question is how did one family corner 10 blocks. Part of the answer could lie in the family’s political clout. One of the directors of JLD Yavatmal, in which Manoj holds partial stake, was Devendra Darda, son of Congress MP Vijay Darda.

       Abhijeet Group seemed to have the ability to win the support of bureaucrats. Of the six blocks it was allotted, five lie in Jharkhand. Meanwhile, Jayaswal Neco features among 58 companies that were issued show cause notices this year for “unsatisfactory progress” in their projects. The review committee noted the company had not shown any progress in expanding its plant in Siltara for which it had been allocated 215 million tonne mine in Jharkhand and 107 million tonne mine in Chhattisgarh – a staggering allocation. Strikingly, even in 2010, the committee had made similar observations, asking for show cause notices to be issued to the company, adding that the Chhattisgarh HC had ordered the state government not to allow the expansion of the plant.
In the case of Abhijeet group, which obtained three coal blocks in 2005 for a sponge iron plant, not only has the company shown no progress in setting up the plant, seven years after it got a block, it has not even finalized where its plant would be. Again, both in 2010 and 2012, the company was issued show cause notices, but no action was taken.

ALL IN THE FAMILY 

     Of five cos raided on Tuesday, three belong to one family — the Nagpur-based Jayaswals
Family patriarch Basant Jayaswal. Three sons Ramesh, Manoj & Arvind
Ramesh manages Jayaswal Neco Group. Father is group chairman. Manoj (pic) heads Abhijeet Group
ABHIJEET GROUP HAS SIX COAL BLOCKS
Jharkhand | Five blocks
Chhattisgarh | Fatehpur East (Allocated to JLD Yavatmal Energy)
These six add up to 444 mn tonnes of coal
Jayaswal cos raided today
AMR Iron and Steel (jointly held) | JAS Infrastructure (Abhijeet Group) | JLD Yavatmal (Abhijeet Group & Darda Family)
JAYASWAL NECO GROUP HAS THREE COAL BLOCKS
Chattisgarh | Gare Palma IV/4 Gare Palma IV/8 Jharkhand | Moitra
These add up to
447 mn tonnes
JOINT OWNERSHIP: AMR
Three brothers jointly own AMR Iron and Steel, allocated a 31 mn tonne block Bander, Maharashtra
Between them, 10 blocks and 917 mn tonnes of coal

Andher Nagari: UP PDS Wheat Disappears


3,000 MT PDS wheat goes missing in two districts

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

     Lucknow: More than 3,000 metric tonne of wheat meant for distribution through the public distribution system is reportedly missing from public godowns in Gorakhpur and Maharajganj. The incident came to light on Sunday following which the divisional commissioner Gorakhpur districted the districts magistrates of the two districts to probe the incident and register FIRs in connection with the incident.

     Gorakhpur divisional commissioner K Ravindra Nayak confirmed on Sunday that 3,000 metric tonne of wheat has been found missing from the stocks of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government godowns situated in the two districts. “The DMs of Gorakhpur and Maharajganj have been directed to register FIRs in connection with the missing wheat stock and also independently inquire into the entire issue,” K Ravindra Nayak said.

     In all, 3,106 metric tonne wheat was found missing from the two districts of which 1,402 metric tonne of wheat was untraceable from Maharajganj alone. “The stocks have gone missing during transit from FCI godowns to the state owned godowns,” Nayak said.

     Sources in Gorakhpur quoting initial findings of the probe being conducted into the missing stocks said that there are indications of a well organised racket behind the incident and that this is not the first incident of disappearance of foodgrains during transit.

     “This time however the difference was that it came to light before the stock registers of the respective godowns could be taken care of,” said a source privy to the entire racket in Gorakhpur.

Kolkata Boy Akash Mukerjee : What A Boy


10-year-old’s gift to less fortunate: First pay of 1L

Subhro Niyogi TNN

10-year-old’s gift to less fortunate: First pay of 1L

Akash Mukherjee, who shares his birthday with Mother Teresa, will donate the amount to the Missionaries of Charity today

Kolkata: This 10-year-old boy could be an example to scores of residents of the City of Joy. For, he has decided to donate his first pay — an amount close to Rs 1 lakh that he earned by working in a movie — to the Missionaries of Charity.

     “I wanted to share my first earnings with the not-so-fortunate children of the city. I would have loved to buy something for my parents, too, but I think that can wait for another time,” smiled Akash Mukherjee, a Class V student of St Xavier’s Collegiate School and protagonist of the yet-to-be released Bengali movie ‘Anubhav – Ekti Ekla Chheler Goppo’. Akash will hand over the money to the organization after school hours on Monday — a day after the birthday of Mother Teresa, and incidentally Akash’s as well.

    Akash’s generosity is something his parents Manisha and Gora Mukherjee inculcated in him. They taught him the art of giving when they took him to the Missionaries of Charity on his fifth birthday. That day, after school hours, he had also paid a visit to Nirmal Hriday, a home run by the order instituted by Mother Teresa.

      “We wanted him to grow up with a sense of awareness of the world and realise the importance of giving. So we went to donate books, toys and clothes that could be used. I made sure that he gave up especially those toys that he was fond of,” recounted Manisha.

     Though Akash remembers very little about that maiden visit, trips to the home for destitutes on subsequent birthdays made him realize the joy that he could spread just by giving others what they did not have. Akash would go to the home with his parents after school, cut a cake in everyone’s presence and then share food with other children.

     “In the beginning, I would feel a slight pang when I had to give up something I really cherished. But when I saw faces light up while I handed it over to those who did not have them, it really did feel good. Now sharing or giving up is not an issue at all. It comes naturally,” said Akash, showing a maturity way beyond his years.

      Just over a year ago, Akash won the lead role in a film and loved every moment working in it. Directed by Rajesh Datta and Ipsita Roy Sarkar, the film that also stars Kushal Chakraborty, Saheb Bhattacharya, Nandini Ghoshal and Dolon Roy, is about the loneliness of a boy who overcomes it.

    In real life though, Akash has no loneliness to contend with. Not only does he have cousins and friends, Manisha too quit her job to be a full-time mother. “He made me leave the job, but I don’t regret the decision one bit,” she smiled.

       The movie opportunity came by chance and Akash’s parents did not object to it. He did the shooting over weekends and holidays. Though Akash enjoyed the experience, his parents don’t want him to act in another one anytime soon. “It is too early to say what we would want him to be other than a good human being,” said Gora. Akash, though, has his sights set on becoming a footballer.

    There had been no talk of remuneration till the shooting was completed. The directors then hesitatingly told the Mukherjees that they would like to pay Akash around Rs 1 lakh. When the couple asked their son what he would like to do with the sum, he replied without hesitation: “Give it to the Missionaries of Charity.”

    Akash Mukherjee, who shares his birthday with Mother Teresa, will donate the amount to the Missionaries of Charity today

Mumbai Flat Buyers: VAT Problems


Onus to pay VAT is on builder, not buyer: Govt

Rajshri Mehta TNN

      Mumbai: In a bid to quell doubts about payment of value added tax (VAT) on properties bought between June 20, 2006 andMarch 31,2010,thesalestax department has put up a list of frequently asked questions with answers on its website (http://mahavat.gov.in/Mahavat/index.jsp).

      The department has clearly stated that the onus to pay the tax liability is on the developer and not the property buyer. It further said that builders’ tax liability will be adjusted againsttheinstallments paidby them so far. Although builders claim theVATis5% of the value of a flat, the sales tax departmentsaiditwillworkouttoless than 3%.

    Whilethe FAQs may slightly quell the disquiet among property buyers, the state governmentis yettospellouthowitintends to protect buyers, especially those who were not informed of the likely VAT charge, those who had given bank guarantees and deposits to developerswhilebooking flats.
“I learnt I have to pay Rs 3 lakh asVATonly when Iwentto meet the developer for some paper work. He never told me about VAT when I took possession of the flat in 2009. Why should I pay when I was not told about it,” said a Pune-based senior army officer.

    Fifteen residents of a posh Navi Mumbai housing society are wondering what legal recourse to take after their developer recently sentthem a notice demanding Rs 3.57 lakh as VAT. “The developer has threatened to forfeit our bank guarantee if wedon’t pay,” said a resident.

     “On what grounds is the builder asking me to give a cheque when the bank guarantee is in his possession? It is equivalent to paying the VAT. Who will reimburse me for the interest I lost for five years when my guarantee was lying with the developer,” asked a flat owner from Vashi.
“Thoughwe paidVAT at5%, welearntthe amountworksout to less. Who will refund the excess VAT I paid to the developer,” asked another buyer.

    VAT YOU SHOULD KNOW 
Q. When is VAT applicable from? A. June 20, 2006

Q. On what type of contracts is VAT payable? A. VAT is payable on the sale of under-construction flats. It is not payable if a completed flat is sold by the developer

Q. Who has to pay VAT if a developer didn’t tell the buyer about VAT when s/he purchased the flat post 2006? A. The developer

Q. Will VAT apply if the agreement to sell an underconstruction flat was executed before June 20, 2006 and the possession was given after June 20, 2006? Will the amount received prior to June 20, 2006 be exempt from VAT? A. Yes. VAT will be levied on the value received or receivable after June 20, 2006

Source: http://mahavat.gov. in/Mahavat/index.jsp

Kolkata Police: Overworked, Under Staffed, Poor Work Conditions, Take Toll


Cops fume over low salary, heavy workload

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Kolkata: The suicide of Kolkata Police sub-inspector Kartik Chatterjee once again exposed the grievances of junior officers of the city police force over work condition and pay scale.

     The subordinate officers, mainly the sub-inspectors, are considered as the main pillar of policing in present hierarchy. But surprisingly, despite many fold increase in work pressure, junior officers in the state remained lowest paid cops in the country.

      “Due to acute shortage of officers, our work load is much higher than other state police. Despite such pressure, we are deprived of allowances and leaves what other state police officers are getting,” said an officer.

     According to present status, a state police sub-inspector gets paid as per Scale 10 of the Fifth Pay Commission. On an average, a fresh recruit gets around Rs 20,000 after joining the job. And they don’t get any promotion before 20 years of service.
“After 16 years of service, a state police officer gets at least Rs 15,000 less than his counterparts in other states,” said an officer. Officers in other states also get paid as per the Sixth Pay Commission.
Officers complained that they have been demanding the revision of pay as per their work load and responsibilities for long. In 2009, the state finance ministry prepared a report on Revision of Pay and Allowances. In its report, the committee admitted that the state police were getting much less than other police officers and they need a revision of pay. The committee also recommended to revise the scale as per Scale 13 of the Fifth Pay Commission.

     Then finance minister Asim Dasgupta assured to start the revised scale but it did not happen in the past three years.

    MORE WORK, LESS PAY 


Scale of SIs in other states: 
9,300-34,800 + 4,300 grade pay Scale of SIs in Bengal: 7,100-37,600 + 3,990 grade pay
In other states, SIs get promotion within 10 years In state police, it takes 18-20 years for a promotion

  Cops in other states have weekly offs, special pay for duty beyond 8 hours
No such facilities for cops in the state

Police struggle with high dropout, burnout rates

 “Until the superiors do not develop the basic infrastructure, this exodus will continue. More policemen wwill quit and the quality of policing will deteriorate.” 

Exit Door
20 of the 106 newly recruited SIs quit in 2004,
35 of the 110 SIs who joined in 2008 quit
18 of the 78 sergeants who joined in 2008 quit

Caesar Mandal TNN

      Kolkata: Kartik Chatterjee, the Kolkata Police sub-inspector who committed suicide on Saturday, wasn’t the only police officer struggling to cope with work pressure.

      A month ago, SI Rabindra Nath Sarkar had tried to commit suicide in front of East Jadavpur police station with the service revolver of a constable. The bullet struck his throat and he was lucky to survive, thanks to emergency surgery at a private hospital. Investigation revealed that Sarkar was depressed because of the work pressure and was looking for a transfer to any other wing.

      It’s not only the middle-aged officers, even fresh recruits are finding their job too tough, say sources.

      A significant number of officers recruited through public service commission have left the police service after working a couple of years. In some cases, they opted for even lower-paying jobs. Most of them blamed poor work conditions, pressure, and ill treatment from the superiors as the cause behind their switching to other jobs, say sources.
In 2004, 106 sub-inspectors joined Kolkata Police but 20 of them quit within a couple of years. The dropout rate was worse in the next recruitment in 2008. This time 110 sub-inspectors and 78 sergeants joined the service but within two years,18 sergeants and 35 SIs quit.
Among them is H Rahman, who was posted at Shakespeare Sarani police station in December 2009 after two years of training. Within seven months he quit and joined a clerical job, where the pay was much lower. The work pressure of the police job disturbed his family life, he said.

     Apart from investigating crimes, cops posted at police stations deal with law and order, road accidents, fire and various other types of jobs, including, in a recent case, catching a snake at a hospital.

      The workload has been increasing but not the manpower, said an officer. “Police stations are hellish for any officer. We have no weekly offs. Most police stations are short of staff so we work seven days a week. Often, we don’t have a proper toilet, what to speak of a rest room or canteen?” alleged an officer.

    In specialized police wings, like CBI, an officer does not investigate more than three cases a year. “Police stations handle a much bigger workload. On an average, we can deal with 25-30 cases a year but in 2010, I had 110 cases. How can an officer deal with such a number of cases and still investigate properly,” asked an officer who was posted at Park Street police station.

      The crisis turned worse a year ago, when the Kolkata Police jurisdiction was expanded to include the southern fringes and the number of police stations increased from 48 to 65.

     “Now our jurisdiction is double than before but infrastructure remains same. A police station needs 10-12 sub-inspectors but most have to make do with seven to eight SIs,” said an inspector posted at a south east Kolkata police station.

     When Kolkata Police took control of South 24-Parganas from the district police, more than 700 cases were pending at Patuli police station. In the past year, final reports of 300 cases have been submitted but that still leaves 400 cases pending, which were “distributed” among other sub-inspectors. “Each officer is handling 40-50 cases apart from their present cases,” said an officer.

      “Until the superiors do not develop the basic infrastructure, this exodus will continue. More policemen will quit and the quality of policing will deteriorate.”

    Exit Door
20 of the 106 newly recruited SIs quit in 2004,
35 of the 110 SIs who joined in 2008 quit
18 of the 78 sergeants who joined in 2008 quit

       Reasons: Tremendous work pressure, poor work conditions, ill treatment by superiors. Many left for less paying jobs

Mumbai Flat Buyers( 06 – 10) : Hope to pay less VAT


06-’10 flat buyers may have to pay less VAT

Govt May Waive Registration Delay Penalty

Rajshri Mehta TNN

     Mumbai: People who brought properties in under-construction projects between 2006 and 2010can relax a little.

     Fresh calculations by the sales tax department peg the value-added tax (VAT) they have to pay at .5% to 3% of the value of the property mentionedin the agreement.Developers, most of whom are affiliated to Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), however, maintained that the amount worked to 5% or more.

      The second reason for cheer is the indications from a government source that it might waive the penalty for delayed payment of the tax component, thereby benefiting the buyers. Before 2006, no VAT was levied on property sale. The state introduced it in 2006 after the Supreme Court passed an order in 2005, putting developers andcontractorsin the samebracket.
The tax liability, say officials, varies because of several parameters such as construction costs incurred by developers (who collect the amount from buyers) after deducting the land price, which accounts for almost 70-80% of the total costsin Mumbai.

     The tax liability will go up in proportion to the construction cost, meaning, buyers will have to pay more as tax if they bought their properties and registered them later; construction costs have steadily been increasing in Mumbai.

      Both developers as well as government officials agree that it was the buyers who are caught in a battle between them. The interest that buyers will now pay—if they delayed registering the property after its purchase—isbecauseof the case that was going on in court and the developers’ confidence about winning it.

      The MCHI and Confederation of Real EstateDevelopers’ Association of India (Credai) have, nevertheless, moved the apex court, challenging the constitutional validity of the government’s move to term developers as contractors andlevy VAT.Likein mostindustries,thehugetax is being passedon totheenduser.

      Buyers are fighting back in whatever way they can. Some havestartedwriting blog posts, whileothers are meeting developers, telling them about their predicament. “We are suffering because of the fight between developers and the government,” a buyer in Malad said. Tax officials pointed out that since April 2012, when the order was passed againstdevelopers,13 buildershadcollected fullliability of Rs20crorefrom consumers but did not deposit it with the department. Asked a buyer, “Why should we pay interest,when wehave already paid the tax amounts to the developers?” “We have already paid huge deposits. The developers can pay the VAT out of the interest,” a buyer from Powai said. Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association chairman Ramesh Prabhu, too, said buyers, especially those who had not yettaken possession of their properties, would now haveto pay hightaxes.

      Developers, however, stuck to their stand. Ashok Mohanani, CMD of Ekta World, said, “The fault lies with the three complicated schemes to compute VAT drawn up by the sales tax department,whichhaveincreasedtheliability toover 5%. Contrary to the department’s claim,they are notoffering any tax benefits to any of the schemes. We have to pay double taxes for the same goods the value of which has increasedover a periodof time.” ADDING VALUE TO PROPERTY 

     The VAT is applicable only on an under-construction property

      Your tax liability varies between .5% and 3% depending on several factors such as the cost of the property and the value of the land on which it is built

     You will have to pay an interest of 15% on your tax component for every year of delay in registering your property. For example, if your tax component was Rs 1 lakh and you bought the property in 2009 but registered it in 2010, then you will have to pay Rs 1.15 lakh (15% interest on Rs 1 lakh for one year)

     The sales tax department may decide to waive the penalty for delayed payment; discussions are on

     There may be a small variation in the tax component because of differences in factors such as construction cost, which has been increasing steadily; this will increase the tax if you bought the property, for example, in ’08 instead of ’06

    LEGAL TUSSLE

      2006: Maharashtra government amends Value Added Tax Act, 2002 and levies VAT on the sale of immovable properties by developers

     2007: Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) and Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) challenge the government’s decision in the Bombay high court

      2007: Court passes interim order that developers should submit to sales tax department details like number of flats, amounts received, goods purchased from “dealers” registered or unregistered and amounts of VAT paid on such purchases

     2009: Maharashtra government issues notification for computing VAT, the value of which is based on ready reckoner rates 2010: Government introduces composition scheme of VAT at 1% of agreement value

    2012: Bombay high court dismisses MCHI’s petition

    2012: MCHI challenges constitutional validity of the government to levy VAT. Their contention is that the state legislature has no power and erred in terming the sale of immovable property as work contract under the provisions of Sale of Goods Act, 1930 of the Constitution

     Aug 28, ’12: Supreme Court to hear special leave petition

MTNL: Compelled by SC to repay Unauthorised Deduction after 18 years to Adv Sanjay Kothari


We need more Sanjay Kotharis.

Ed

Advocate wages 18-yr battle for 9 refund from MTNL

Shibu Thomas TNN

      Mumbai: In 1994, an advocate took on MTNL for charging extra service tax on his telephone bill. The case inched forward in the high court and reached the Supreme Court, but he didn’t give up. Eighteen years later, he got his due: an MTNL refund cheque for Rs 9 that he received earlier in August.

     “It was a matter of principle,” said Sanjay Kothari, the proud recipient. “MTNL is a public body and if they wrongly charge consumers, they must refund it. Otherwise, it is a case of unjust enrichment.”

    And Kothari is not done yet. He has filed a contempt petition over MTNL’s failure to refund the extra tax to other customers as the Bombay HC had ordered in 2010.

    WHAT IT’S WORTH

      9, in 1993-94, adjusted for inflation as per the wholesale price index, would be equivalent to 27.78 as of July 2012, the last month for which data is available MTNL has to refund 9 each to 1.8L people

       Mumbai: An RTI application filed by Mumbai advocate Sanjay Kothari revealed that MTNL has to refund Rs 9 to about 1.8 lakh consumers. The amount works out to over Rs 16 lakh.

       His case against the public body goes back to the early 90s when Kothari read the fine print in his bill of Rs 340 and realized that he had been charged extra service tax. MTNL refused a refund, following which Kothari, who was represented by senior advocate Arif Bookwala and advocates Sanjay Udeshi and Mahesh Londhe, filed a writ petition in 1994 before the high court.

      MTNL said Kothari’s actual bill was for Rs 380 and since he had paid a deposit of Rs 5,000 under the Own Your Telephone scheme, he was eligible for a rebate of Rs 40 in his bi-monthly bill for 20 years. The PSU stated it would consider his actual bill of Rs 380 when charging service tax, while Kothari argued that it should be calculated on his payable bill of Rs 340.

      Sixteen years later, the HC ruled in Kothari’s favour, saying the service tax should have been charged only on the gross amount reflected in the telephone bill. MTNL moved the Supreme Court a year later, but their plea was dismissed last July on grounds of delay.

     Earlier this month, he finally got the cheque for Rs 9. “MTNL could have easily adjusted the amount in my current bill, but they chose to issue a cheque which costs money,” said Kothari.

      “It seems they are not keen on paying the others. I am an advocate and could take the case to its logical conclusion, but what about the ordinary citizen?”

    Clearly, MTNL has not heard the last from him.