Ambanis, Mittal, Tata, Sahara faced a tough 2013
Corporate czars like Anil Ambani, Sunil Bharti Mittal and business houses including Tatas came under intense judicial scanner for scam-related cases in 2013 with Subrata Roy Sahara facing the toughest time in Supreme Court which restrained him from leaving India.
Be it the witness box in trial courts or corridors of the Delhi high court and the apex court, names of business tycoons like Mukesh Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Naveen Jindal and Ravi Ruia cropped up in controversial matters and cases which are under scrutiny in different judicial forums.
The year also saw several multinational giants like Finish mobile maker Nokia rushing to the high court in a high stake tax dispute while UK-based Vedanta Group, Korean steel major Posco and Swiss pharma firm Novartis were engaged in Supreme Court on issues ranging from industrial pollution, licences and patent.
The patent battle saw domestic pharmaceutical firms getting a major boost with the apex court dismissing the plea of Novartis for patent of a cancer drug Glivec, paving the way for Indian companies to manufacture cheap generic drugs.
So was the case in the high court where US-pharma major Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) failed to get any relief against Indian Pharma Glenmark which has come up with generic anti-diabetic medicines. An intra-court appeal against the order is pending before a larger bench.
However, the year was tough for Sahara India Parivar as Roy was not only restrained from leaving India but he and his group firms were accused of taking the apex court "for ride" and "playing hide and seek" in the case relating to refund of Rs 20,000 crore to investors in which they are facing contempt proceedings.
More trouble came when the apex court said that contempt proceedings can go ahead against Roy and his two employees for interfering with the investigation into the 2G spectrum case.
The 2G spectrum scam also forced Bharti Cellular CMD Sunil Mittal, Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and Reliance ADAG chief Anil Ambani to rush to the apex court in the wake of special CBI court issuing them summonses to appear as accused and witnesses respectively.
While Mittal and Ruia got a temporary relief from the apex court which stayed the proceedings against them in additional spectrum scam in which they have been summoned as an accused, Ambani failed to convince the court to give an order against the trial court directing him to appear as a witness in the 2G case involving former Telecom Minister A Raja and others, including three top executives of his group.
A day after ADAG chief's testimony, his wife Tina Ambani also made her appearance in the Patiala house court and recorded her statement which was described as "better than her husband" in answering questions by special judge O P Saini.
Government's controversial decision to hike the price of natural gas reached the Supreme Court which agreed to examine the issue raised by CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta who filed a PIL accusing Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily of allegedly favouring Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which have been refuted by them.
If 2012 was the year of 2G scam, then 2013 would be recorded in the history of the apex court for coalgate case and CBI's clamour to attain autonomy and free itself from its political masters to investigate top bureaucrats.
The high voltage hearing in the coal scam saw the apex court taking strong exception to the interference into its probe by the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who was forced to resign.
CBI, which was termed as "caged parrot" by the apex court during the hearing in the coal scam, came out all guns blazing and named corporate bigwigs Naveen Jindal and Kumar Mangalam Birla in separate FIRs registered in connection with the case.
The controversy surrounding former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's tapped conversations was dealt by the apex court and after long hearing, it directed CBI to probe some key issues in which names of some big corporates, politicians, bureaucrats and journalists cropped up.
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- Giving two weeks to the government to come back with its response, the bench then formally recorded in its order that one of the issues that has caught its attention is “uncontrolled and unscreened viewing of films” on Amazon Prime Video and other OTT platforms.
- The roughly 20,000 centres being used for the vaccine drive at the moment are hospitals, private as well as public, while many primary and secondary health centres at present are kept out of the programme.
- The external affairs ministry, which too rejected Freedom House’s report, also took exception to the depiction of Jammu and Kashmir in the map used in the document.
- A home ministry spokesperson said these rules prepared by the Foreigners’ Division were part of a brochure issued on November 15, 2019. The rules were consolidated and notified on Thursday.
- After the allegations on Jarkiholi, there were unverified reports of several similar videos and other sex scandals against other cabinet ministers.
- India is a signatory to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- On the other hand, the DMK’s stalemate continued with its main and long standing ally, the Congress, on seat sharing.
- The person said it was imperative that the photographs are removed from certificates distributed in the poll bound states, adding that the system can continue in other states.
- Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former President Pratibha Patil, economist Amartya Sen, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, spiritual leader Baba Ramdev, chief ministers of states and senior political leaders are among those included in the panel.
- According to Indian agencies, the JeI has maintained that J&K is a disputed territory.
- Interestingly, the election of the six YSRC members comes at a time when a resolution adopted by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the state assembly in January 2020, seeking abolition of the legislative council, is still pending with the Union home ministry.
- When the matter came up before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy on Friday, the bench adjourned it to April 7 as it had no time for a full fledged hearing.
- Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also held a review meeting on Friday to discuss with the divisional commissioners the steps being taken to contain the spread of the infection.
- There is a cost difference of about 25-30 per cent in containers made in India and abroad.
- After an agreement last month on pulling back frontline troops along with armoured vehicles and artillery from strategic heights around Pangong Lake, the two sides have been unable to make progress on disengagement at other friction points such as Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra.