Ministry of Finance
Income Tax Department conducts searches on a Pune & Thane based unicorn start-up group(20 MAR 2022)
Income Tax Department conducted a Search & Seizure operation on a Pune & Thane based unicorn start-up group, primarily engaged in the business of wholesale and retail of construction material, on 09.03.2022. The group has Pan-India presence having annual turnover exceeding Rs. 6,000 crore. A total of 23 premises were covered in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, in the search operation.

A large number of incriminating evidences in the form of hard copy documents and digital data have been found & seized during the search operations. These evidences revealed that the group has booked bogus purchases, made huge unaccounted cash expenditure and obtained accommodation entries, aggregating to the tune of over Rs. 400 crore. These evidences were confronted to the Directors of the group, who admitted under oath this modus operandi, disclosed additional income of more than Rs. 224 crore in various assessment years, and consequently offered to pay their due tax liability.

The search action also revealed that the group had obtained huge foreign funding via the Mauritius route, by issuing shares at exorbitantly high premium. During the search operation, a complex hawala network of some Mumbai and Thane based shell companies, was also unearthed.

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AIFs can invest upto 10% investable funds in a company: SEBI ( MAR 18, 2022 )

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Thursday said alternative investment funds, such as private equity and hedge funds, can invest up to 10% of their investable corpus in a company.

 As per the AIF regulations, category III AIFs were not permitted to invest more than 10% of the investable funds in a particular listed investee company. The term 'investable funds' is defined in the AIF Regulations to mean a corpus of the scheme of the AIF net of expenditure for administration and management of the fund estimated for the tenure of the fund.

The regulator said large value funds for accredited investors of category III alternative investments (AIFs) can invest up to 20% of the investable funds in an investee company, directly or through investment in units of other AIFs.

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NSE Co-Location Scam 

CBI Probing Role of SEBI Officials, Suspects Crime Was Intentionally Hidden ( MAR 18,2022 )

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating the role of officials at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) who served during 2016-19 when alleged governance lapses and a series of irregularities unfolded at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), said multiple people familiar with the development.

Referred to as the co-location scam, the investigation pertains to a 2018 case in which the then NSE brass are accused of providing a bunch of high frequency traders unfair access to speed up algorithmic trading.

According to the people cited above, the role of officials who served at SEBI during 2016-2019 has come under the scanner and the officials are likely to be called for questioning soon. “CBI feels that they are accomplices in the case,” said one of the persons. “They never reported this matter anywhere and nowhere did it find mention in any vigilance records.”

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Security Market

FPI return drives market recovery ( MAR 19, 2022 )

After sustained selling in domestic markets for several weeks, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) seem to have returned with buy orders.

FPIs bought stocks worth Rs 312 crore on Wednesday and Rs 2,800 crore on Thursday when the Sensex gained 1,048 points to 57,863.93. The return of FPIs coincided with the US Federal Reserve’s decision to hike key policy rates by 25 basis points to a target range of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. The markets have witnessed a smart recovery over the last one week and risen 9.5 per cent since it closed at 52,842 on March 7.

According to analysts, if Russia-Ukraine talks lead to peace and crude oil prices decline, the market could recover further and FPIs are likely to remain buyers.

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RBI scraps rules mandating payment cos to submit returns on their ops ( MAR 19, 2022 )

In a major shift in payment regulation, the RBI has done away with rules requiring payment operators to submit to the central bank returns relating to their business and operations.

“The amendments are carried out with the objective of reducing the compliance burden on Regulated Entities (REs) by rationalising certain returns prescribed in the PSS Regulations,” the RBI said in a release. The amendment was brought into effect through a gazette notification last month. The RBI announced the changes to its regulations on Thursday.

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Centre plans to merge BBNL with BSNL this month: BSNL CMD ( MAR 20. 2022 )

The government is planning to merge Bharat Broadband Nigam Limited (BBNL) with the loss-making state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) this month, a senior official has said.

BSNL chairman and managing director PK Purwar at a recent event organised by the All India Graduate Engineers and Telecom officers Association (AIGETOA) said that the government is giving the telecom firm an opportunity for a turnaround.

BSNL already has a network of over 6.8 lakh kilometer of optical fibre cable (OFC) network.

With the proposed merger, BSNL will get 5.67 lakh kilometer of optical fibre which has been laid across 1.85 lakh village panchayats in the country using Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

Special purpose vehicle (SPV) BBNL was formed in February 2012, to lay out optical fibre network across 2.5 lakh village panchayats across the country using USOF and provide its access to all telecom operators on a non-discriminatory basis.

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World Affairs

Afghanistan's last finance minister Khalid Payenda now drives Uber in US ( MAR 20, 2022 )

Khalid Payenda who resigned as the finance minister days before Kabul fell to the Taliban now drives Uber cab in and around Washington, apart from working as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University where he gets $2,000 per semester. In an interview with the Washington Post, the last finance minister of the Ashraf Ghani government said he is grateful for the gigs that he has found as it helps him to provide for his family of wife and four children.

Months before the fall of Kabul, the former minister said, he had made a visit to an illegal customs post outside Kandahar. When he questioned the police officers who were running the operations netting millions of dollars per day, he was held at the gunpoint, the video of which is still there on the minister's cellphone.

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TAPI pipeline in Afghanistan to resume soon: Taliban ( MAR 18, 2022 )

The Taliban-led government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said negotiations over technical issues of the TAPI, or the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India, pipeline have taken place and the project will resume in the spring, the media reported on Friday.

The TAPI gas pipeline is planned to span 1,680 km and connect Afghanistan's Herat and Kandahar provinces with Pakistan and India.

Afghanistan will pay 5 per cent of the project's expenses. The project began nearly three decades ago.

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