Income Tax Dept. conducts search operations on two real estate developers


Income Tax Dept. conducts search operations on two real estate developers

Investigations have also revealed that unaccounted cash expenditure has been incurred on construction of the residential house of one of the key persons.

The Income Tax Department initiated search and seizure operations on two major real estate developers of Ludhiana. The search action, conducted on 16 November, covered around 40 premises, an official release today said.

The major finding emanating from these search and seizure operations of both the groups is about the receipt of unaccounted cash by these groups by way of on-money on property transactions.

During the course of search proceedings, documentary evidence in the nature of ‘agreement to sale’, (popularly known as ‘Biyana’ in local parlance), for certain properties have been found and seized. These documents indicate that the ‘agreement to sale’ for plots has been executed at much higher amount/rate as compared to the consideration disclosed in the registered sale deed of the plot. Further, incriminating documents such as loose sheets, excel sheets showing calculation of receipt of on-money of certain property transactions, soft data, chats from mobile phones of the persons concerned, etc. have also been recovered.

A preliminary analysis of the evidence clearly indicates the receipt of unaccounted cash by way of on-money on property transactions. Besides, certain other corroborative evidence supporting the receipt of on-money have also been gathered.

Investigations have also revealed that unaccounted cash expenditure has been incurred on construction of the residential house of one of the key persons.

In one of the groups, defaults on compliances for the provisions of tax deduction at source have been detected with regard to payments made to the sellers of the land, etc.

The search action has resulted in seizure of unaccounted cash of about Rs. 2.00 crore besides foreign exchange, and unexplained jewellery of about Rs. 2.30 crore.

Further investigations are in progress.




Sitharaman asks IT officers to provide best taxpayer services in J&K


Sitharaman asks IT officers to provide best taxpayer services in J&K

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that the income tax office at Srinagar will act as a bridge to connect the people of the region to the best taxpayer services and also help them in their taxation issues through the Aaykar Sewa Kendra.

Sitharaman, who reached Srinagar today, also observed that the income tax office will provide an enabling environment for people’s participation in the development of the region.

The Income Tax Department’s new Office-cum-Residential complex, ‘The Chinars’, at Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, was inaugurated by Sitharaman in the presence of Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Manoj Sinha.

In her interaction with tax administrators and stakeholders at SKICC, Sitharaman urged the officers of both CBDT and CBIC to be agents of change and reach out to the industry and business individuals to ascertain their expectations from the Government. While emphasising that officers of both CBDT and CBIC should work collectively, the Finance Minister also stressed the importance of their role as facilitators and educators, making themselves more accessible to the taxpayers of the region to provide better taxpayer services.

Secretary, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Tarun Bajaj; Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), J.B. Mohapatra and Chairman Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) M. Ajit Kumar were also present on the occasion.

Manoj Sinha highlighted the importance of taxpayers in the economic development of the country and said that the Income Tax department is becoming seamless from the stage of filing returns to the issuance of refunds. Shri Sinha observed that the success of the taxpayers will lead to the greater economic development of UT of J&K. Sinha also appealed to the taxpayers to honestly pay their taxes.

Tarun Bajaj, Revenue Secretary to the Government of India, emphasised the increasing contribution of the UT of J&K to the exchequer, reflected in the up-gradation of the Income Tax charge at Srinagar to the level of Principal Commissioner of Income Tax at Srinagar.




Airtel raises prepaid tariffs by 20%, effective from Nov 26


Airtel raises prepaid tariffs by 20%, effective from Nov 26

“Bharti Airtel has always maintained that the mobile ‘Average Revenue Per User’ (ARPU) needs to be at Rs 200 and ultimately at Rs 300, so as to provide a reasonable return on capital that allows for a financially healthy business model,” the telecom operator said in a regulatory filing.

Telecom major Bharti Airtel will raise the prepaid tariffs by around 20 per cent.

Accordingly, the new tariffs will come into effect from November 26, 2021.

“Bharti Airtel has always maintained that the mobile ‘Average Revenue Per User’ (ARPU) needs to be at Rs 200 and ultimately at Rs 300, so as to provide a reasonable return on capital that allows for a financially healthy business model,” the telecom operator said in a regulatory filing.

“We also believe that this level of ‘ARPU’ will enable the substantial investments required in networks and spectrum. Even more important, this will give Airtel the elbow room to roll out 5G in India.”

This revision is part of their “rebalancing” of tariffs, the filing said.




Airtel Africa’s mobile money biz receives $100 million investment from Mastercard


Airtel Africa’s mobile money biz receives $100 million investment from Mastercard

The transaction values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis.

Airtel Africa has signed a deal to sell about 3.75 per cent stake in its wholly-owned subsidiary Airtel Mobile Commerce to Mastercard for $100 million (about Rs 733 crore).

In a statement, issued on Thursday, the telco said Mastercard would hold a minority stake in AMC BV on completion of the deal, with Airtel Africa continuing to hold the majority stake.

AMC BV is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations and is intended to own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s 14 operating countries.

“Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, announces the signing of an agreement under which Mastercard, a leading innovator and global technology company in the payments industry, will invest $100 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV…,” Airtel statement said.

The transaction values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis.

The transaction is subject to regulatory nod, and the transfer of specified mobile money business assets and contracts into AMC BV.

“Alongside the investment, the Group and Mastercard have extended commercial agreements and signed a new commercial framework which will deepen their partnerships across numerous geographies and areas including card issuance, payment gateway, payment processing, merchant acceptance and remittance solutions, among others,” Airtel statement said.

The proceeds from the transaction will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.

In a similar deal, Airtel Africa had sold 7.5 per cent stake to US private equity firm, TPG for $200 million earlier this month.

Post the announcement, shares of Airtel were closed higher at Rs 520.90, up by 0.70 per cent on the BSE. Earlier in the day, it had touched the high of Rs 523.90.




Reliance Infrastructure sells Santacruz-based HQ to Yes Bank for Rs 1,200 crore


Reliance Infrastructure sells Santacruz-based HQ to Yes Bank for Rs 1,200 crore

Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) has closed three major transactions in the last 90 days including sale of the asset.

Reliance Infrastructure on Thursday announced sale of Reliance Centre that houses the group’s headquarters to Yes Bank for Rs 1,200 crore.

In July last year, the lender had taken symbolic possession of the complex overlooking the Mumbai Airport. The action was taken after under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) to recover dues from Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure. In terms of amount, the dues stand at Rs 2,892 crore.

With this, Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) has closed three major transactions in the last 90 days including sale of the asset.

“RInfra and YES Bank Limited (YES Bank) announced a sale transaction of Reliance Centre, Santacruz, Mumbai to YES Bank,” the company said in a statement adding that the transaction value is Rs 1,200 crore.

“Entire proceeds from the sale of Reliance Centre, Santacruz, is utilized only to repay the debt of Yes Bank,” it said.

A company official said, with this transaction RInfra’s exposure to Yes Bank has been reduced from Rs 4,000 crore to Rs 2,000 crore and the company is committed to being a debt-free company by 2021.




Sensex, Nifty rallies in extended trading session


Sensex, Nifty rallies in extended trading session

Trading at the Nifty50 was halted at 11:40 a.m. and resumed only at 3:30 p.m. after a glitch resulted in stopping of rate updates.

The National Stick Exchange benchmark Nifty50 soared on Wednesday after trading resumed following a temporary shutdown of its cash and derivatives segment caused due to a technical glitch. The Nifty50 closed nearly 284 points higher and Sensex rose over 1,000 points, tracking strong buying in financial stocks.

Trading at the Nifty50 was halted at 11:40 a.m. and resumed only at 3:30 p.m. after a glitch resulted in stopping of rate updates. As a result, the BSE trading session was extended as the trading in NSE resumed at 3.45 p.m. till 5 p.m.

After resumption of trade at 3.45 pm, NSE Nifty zoomed 274.20 points or 1.86 per cent to end at 14,982.

The S&P BSE Sensex zoomed 1,030.28 points or 2.07 per cent to hit 50,781.69 levels.

The gainers on the Sensex pack were led by Axis Bank, surging around 5 per cent, followed by HDFC twins, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finance and SBI.

On the other hand, PowerGrid, Dr Reddy’s, TCS and Asian Paints were among the laggards.

“A late surge by bulls across financials post lifting of the embargo on the grant of GOI business to private banks took indices up 2 per cent when trade time was extended till 5.00 pm,” said S Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP Securities.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended on a negative note.

Stock exchanges in Europe, however, were trading with gains in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.96 per cent higher at USD 65.10 per barrel.

In the forex market, the rupee gained 11 paise to settle at 72.35 against the US dollar supported by positive domestic equities and weakness of the American currency in the overseas market.




Government approves PLI scheme for IT, Pharma sector


Government approves PLI scheme for IT, Pharma sector

The scheme would position India as a manufacturing hub, spur exports and create new jobs opportunities, Prasad added.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs and servers. Along with this, PLI for pharma sector was also approved.

The approval of PLI scheme for these hi-tech IT hardware gadgets comes after the Cabinet last week cleared a Rs 12,195 crore scheme for telecom equipment manufacturing.

While addressing the media post the Cabinet meeting, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Cabinet cleared the about Rs 7,350 crore PLI scheme for IT hardware that would cover laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs and servers.

The scheme would position India as a manufacturing hub, spur exports and create new jobs opportunities, Prasad added.

He further said that five largest companies of the world manufacturing laptops or tablets will be brought to India and will be offered PLI.

Incentives worth Rs 7,350 crore will be provided over four years for manufacturing of these products in India. Production worth Rs 3.26 lakh crore and exports worth Rs 2.45 lakh crore are estimated over the four year timeline.

The development comes just a week after the Cabinet approved the PLI scheme for telecom equipment.

The push for domestic manufacturing cones in line with the government’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.




Punjab & Sind Bank shares nearly hit upper circuit


Punjab & Sind Bank shares nearly hit upper circuit

The scrip hit its upper trading limit on the NSE as well, with a gain of 4.80 per cent at Rs 17.45.

Share price of Punjab & Sind Bank hit nearly 5 per cent upper circuit on Wednesday after the lender announced that it will shares worth Rs 5,500 crore to the government in lieu of capital infusion.

During the afternoon hours the stock was trading at 4.98 per cent to hit the upper circuit limit at Rs 17.48 a piece on the BSE.

The scrip hit its upper trading limit on the NSE as well, with a gain of 4.80 per cent at Rs 17.45.

The bank in a regulatory filing on Tuesday said that an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the shareholders of the bank is scheduled on March 25, 2021 for preferential issue of equity shares to the government up to Rs 5,500 crore.

The general meeting will take place via video conferencing and other audio visual means for passing the resolution for issuing shares to the government.

In September last year, the government had approved a Rs 20,000 crore fund as part of the Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2020-21, for capital infusion into public sector banks (PSBs). Of this, Rs 5,500 crore was approved to be infused into Punjab & Sind Bank.




Ultratech Cement board approves up to Rs 3,000 crore fund raising plans


Ultratech Cement board approves up to Rs 3,000 crore fund raising plans

Ultratech Cement said the proceeds from the issuance will be used to refinance existing rupee debt, with the remainder reserved for regular ongoing capital expenditure requirements and general corporate purposes.

Board of Directors of Ultratech Cement board has approved a proposal of raising funds for an aggregated amount of up to Rs 3,000 crore through issuance of US dollar-denominated bonds.

“The Board of Directors of the Company (“Board”) at its meeting held on 23rd January, 2021 considered and evaluated a proposal for raising of funds through permissible mode(s) and accordingly, approved raising of funds for an aggregate amount not exceeding Rs 3,000 crores, subject to applicable regulatory approvals and market conditions, by way of issue of any instruments or securities in India and/or overseas,” the company said in a late evening regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Further, the Board had also authorised the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors to finalise the manner of raising the funds and decide on all matters and transactions relating to the same, including but not limited to the finalisation and approval of detailed terms and conditions of issue, size, pricing and timing of the transaction.

“The Finance Committee, in terms of the aforesaid authority, at its meeting held today, approved raising funds by way of issuance of foreign currency (US$) denominated bonds (“Notes”) aggregating up to US$ 400 million, corresponding to Rs.3,000 crores, to be offered and sold within the United States to qualified institutional buyers in reliance on Rule 144A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“US Securities Act”) and outside the United States in offshore transactions as defined in and with reliance on Regulation S under the US Securities Act (“Offering”), in one or more tranches,” the release added.

Ultratech Cement said the proceeds from the issuance will be used to refinance existing rupee debt, with the remainder reserved for regular ongoing capital expenditure requirements and general corporate purposes.

The company said it is contemplating listing of the Notes on the Singapore Stock Exchange, subject to market conditions




RIL’s subsidiary to disinvest upstream assets in Marcellus shale assets for $250 million


RIL’s subsidiary to disinvest upstream assets in Marcellus shale assets for $250 million

A Purchase and Sale Agreement (“PSA”) has been signed between RMLLC and NOG on February 3, 2021 for this sale.

Reliance Industries on Thursday announced that it will divest all of its interest in certain upstream assets in the Marcellus shale play of south-western Pennsylvania. These assets, which are currently operated by various affiliates of EQT Corporation, will be sold to Northern Oil and Gas (NOG) Inc for $250 million.

In a regulatory filing, the company said, “Reliance Marcellus, LLC (“RMLLC”) a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (“RIL”), announced the signing of agreements to divest all of its interest in certain upstream assets in the Marcellus shale play of south-western Pennsylvania.”

“These assets, which are currently operated by various affiliates of EQT Corporation (“EQT”), have been agreed to be sold to Northern Oil and Gas, Inc (“NOG”), a Delaware corporation, for a consideration of $250 million cash and warrants that give entitlement to purchase 3.25 million common shares of NOG at an exercise price of $14.00 per common share in next seven years,” it added.

A Purchase and Sale Agreement (“PSA”) has been signed between RMLLC and NOG on February 3, 2021 for this sale and the transaction is subject to customary terms and conditions of closing, it said.

Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. acted as financial advisor to Reliance and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as its legal counsel.




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