Arrested cleric ran Lashkar's Nepal hub
An alleged LashkareTaiba
operative held on Thursday
ran a logistical hub that funneled dozens of jihadists
through Nepal to targets across in India, Delhi Police
sources have said. Working with fugitive Lashkar
commander Mohammad Saifullah, Biharborn
national Mohammad Omar Madani provided Lashkar
operatives with passports, cash and communications
facilities that allowed them to travel from Pakistan to
India through Kathmandu — and then secure their escape.
Fahim Arshad Ansari, who is now being tried on charges of having generated the videotape
that facilitated the training of the perpetrators of November's carnage in Mumbai, is among
those alleged to have benefited from the logistical infrastructure Madani had set up. Madani's
journey into the Lashkar, Delhi police sources said, began after he tapped Nepali Islamists for
funds to expand the familyrun
seminary at Kalyanpur, in Nepal's Saptari
activists Abdul Khaliq and Mohammad Haroun are alleged
to have put Madani in contact with the Markaz Dawat wal'Irshad —the name used by the
parent organisation, the JamaatudDawa,
prior to its proscription by
Pakistan in 2002.
According to the Delhi police, Madani first attended the Markaz's annual rally at Muridke,
near Lahore, in 1997. He met with Markaz Chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed as well as key
military commanders ZakiurRahman
Lakhvi and then incharge
of operations targeting
India, Mohammad Azam Cheema. Delhi police sources said Madani had visited Pakistan at
least twice in recent years and met Saeed on both occasions. He also spent time in Qatar
raising funds for Islamist causes in Nepal. Police believe Madani recruited upwards of two
dozen residents of the IndiaNepal
borderlands to the Lashkar. Among them is Kamal Ahmed
Ansari, who is now being tried for his alleged role in the 2006 bombing of Mumbai's
suburban train system.
Speaking to journalists in New Delhi, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram described
Madani's arrest as "a measure of the good intelligence and good investigative work done by
our intelligence agencies and police."
26/11: Advani seeks inquiry commission
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L. K. Advani on Friday demanded that the
government must set up an inquiry commission to look into "what went wrong where" and
suggest measures to prevent recurrence of terror strikes such as the 26/11.
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However, Home Minister P. Chidambaram later turned
down the demand. He said to ask for a commission of
inquiry six months after the event was "surprising."
Mr. Advani said the Mumbai attack was an "invasion of
India" launched from Pakistan. The government must share
with the House the evidence handed over to Islamabad. He
accused Pakistan of launching a "proxy war" against India
after its defeat in three wars.
Mr. Advani said the trial of Ajmal 'Kasab', the lone
captured terrorist involved in the November 26 terror attacks
in Mumbai, should be expedited. Mr. Advani disagreed with the conclusions of the Pradhan
Committee of the Maharashtra government that the Mumbai attacks were a "failure" of the
Centre only and that the State authorities were not to blame.
Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Mr. Chidambaram said: "I don't think
there is a need for a commission of inquiry. We are not going to appoint it. We have all the
facts on the 26/11 attacks. I have shared it with the House. Besides, I would like to ask, did
the NDA government appoint a commission of inquiry after Kandahar? Did they appoint a
Commission of Inquiry after Parliament was attacked? I don't think that these kinds of
statements are going to help the situation."
Seven firms blacklisted by Defence Ministry
Defence Minister A.K. Antony has directed that acquisition from
seven companies, including foreign suppliers such as Israel Military
Industries and Singapore Technology, be "put on hold" till further
The order, part of the steps to ensure zerotolerance
corruption in procurement, came after these companies figured in the
first information report filed by the CBI, Kolkata, in the case against
the former DirectorGeneral
of Ordnance Factory Board, Sudipto
Besides IMI and Singapore Technology, the companies blacklisted
is HYT Engineering,
T.S. Kishan and Co. Pvt. Ltd, R.K. Machine Tools, BVT Poland, and Media Architects Pvt.
Ltd Singapore, Defence Ministry principal spokesman Sitanshu Kar said here.
Mumbai SEZ faces heat as SC refuses stay plea
The Supreme Court declined to stay the land acquisition proceedings in respect of the
Mumbai SEZ Ltd., promoted by Mukesh Ambani. The company had pleaded for stay of the
acquisition process on the ground that the compensation award for the farmers had not been
passed within the stipulated period of two years from the date of notification of the
acquisition, namely, June 8, 2007.
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A vacation Bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice Aftab Alam dismissed a special
leave petition filed by Mumbai SEZ and Dilipkumar Vitthaldas Dherai against an interim
order of the Bombay High Court that refused to stay the process of land acquisition. The
Bench in a brief order said "we are not inclined to grant any relief."
Mr. Bhushan sought the stay on the land acquisition proceedings initiated by notifications
under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act
on the ground that if the acquisition was not
completed by June 8, the entire process would lapse.
Mr. Rao said the company had deposited Rs. 110
crore with the State government towards
compensation to be paid to the farmers and "we want
the court to protect the interests of both sides."
Senior counsel Rakesh Diwedi, represented the
farmers and senior counsel K. V. Viswanathan
appeared for the intervening nonconsenting
Counsel for Maharashtra submitted that interested persons were not coming forward to the
The MSEZ, which was to come up in 10,000 hectares at an investment of about Rs. 40,000
crore, filed a writ petition before the High Court for a direction to the State government to
complete the land acquisition process and notify the compensation award for the farmers. The
High Court refused to grant relief and the present SLP is directed against that order dated
Tata Steel sales volume up 18% in May
Tata Steel said its sales volume surged by 18 per cent to
4.69 lakh tonnes in May on the back of robust demand
from auto and construction sectors. In the corresponding
month last year, the company's sales stood at 3.97 lakh
tonnes, the steel major said in a statement. During the
month under review, Tata Steel saw its saleable steel
production surging by 23 per cent to 5.01 lakh tonnes as
against 4.08 lakh tonnes. The sale of long products, mainly
used in construction industry, increased by 34 per cent while that of flat items, used by auto
and consumer durable sectors, increased by nine per cent, over the yearago
Steel's crude steel output for the month went up by 17 per cent to 4.86 lakh tonnes from 4.16
lakh tonnes, while hot metal production rose by 19 per cent to 5.28 lakh tonnes from 4.43
The company claimed that one of its steel melting shops in Jamshedpur achieved bestever
May production at 2.18 lakh tonnes. Also, a merchant mill recorded bestever
production of 30,710 tonnes over 28,505 tonnes the same period last year.
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The output of its hot strip mill and new bar mill also registered an impressive growth over
May 2008, it said. After commissioning a new 1.8million
tonne blast furnace at its
Jamshedpur works unit, Tata Steel is in the process of enhancing its production capacity to
10.5 million tonnes by 2010.
At present, the company's Jamshedpur plant has a capacity to produce 6.8 million tonnes of
steel annually. In addition to increasing the capacity of its existing unit, the steel major is in
the process of setting up greenfield projects in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
While in Jharkhand it proposes to invest about Rs 42,000 crore for a 12million
integrated steel plant, in Orissa it intends to pump in nearly Rs 22,000 crore for a sixmilliontonne
unit. The steel major also plans to invest Rs 18,000 crore for setting up a fivemilliontonne
steel plant in Chhattisgarh. For all the proposed greenfield projects, the company is in
the process of acquiring land and mineral linkages.
Suzlon ups stake in REpower to 90.72%
Wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy today said its stake in Germany based
REpower Systems AG has increased to 90.72 per cent, with the
acquisition of Martifer Group's 14.4 per cent stake in the company.
Suzlon has completed "the acquisition of Martifer Group's stake in
REpower Systems, with a final payment of 87.6 million euro (Rs 574.48
crore)," Suzlon Energy said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
With the conclusion of this transaction, Suzlon now holds approximately 90.72 per cent of
shares and voting rights in REpower Systems, it further said.
Prior to this transaction, Portugalbased
Martifer had held about 14.4 per cent stake in the
REpower Systems and Suzlon acquired it in a twopart
payment plan. The
purchase of Martifer's stake in REpower by Suzlon was agreed in February 2007 at the time
of the joint bid by Suzlon and Martifer.
firm had paid 65 million euro as the first tranche in December last
year, hiking its stake in REpower to 73.1 per cent. This is final tranche of the 270 million
euro that Suzlon had agreed to pay to buy Martifer¿s 22.4 per cent stake in REpower
Systems. On Friday, shares of Suzlon Energy closed at Rs 130.90, down 4.31 per cent on the
GMR Infrastructure net profit up 33%
GMR Infrastructure, the flagship company of GMR Group, said its consolidated net profit
rose by 6.43 per cent to Rs 53.24 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009, over the
same period last year. The company had a net profit of Rs 50.02 crore for the quarter ended
March 31, 2008, GMR Infrastructure said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
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"Despite the recessionary trends in the economy and the effects
of the global meltdown, the GMR Group has been able to
demonstrate peak revenue growth, spotless project execution,
improved operational efficiency and timely funding for all its
projects and acquisitions," GMR Group Chairman GM Rao
The total income of the company rose to Rs 1,327.07 crore in
the quarter ended March 2009, from Rs 905.19 crore in the
same period last year. The company posted a net profit of Rs
279.45 crore, up 33 per cent from Rs 210.08 crore for the year ended March 31, 2008.
The total income has increased from Rs 2,364.53 crore for the year ended March 31, 2008, to
Rs 40,40.37 crore in the 2009 fiscal.
Shares of GMR Infrastructure were trading at Rs 179.75, up 1.27 per cent on the BSE.
SIDBI gets $400 million loan from World Bank
The World Bank inked an agreement with India to lend $400 million
to Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), which
finance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The finance ministry, which represented the government, said the loan would go to a project
implemented by SIDBI aimed at fostering growth and competitiveness in small and medium
enterprises, besides creating jobs.
This is part of the extra funds that the government had sought from the World Bank even as
the international body enhanced its loan disbursements by $20 billion in the financial year
ending June and by another $100 billion from the year starting July.
The SIDBI project on SME financing and development had earlier received a $120million
loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)—one of the
five arms of the World Bank. India now borrows about $1.52
billion from the IBRD, which
is to be repaid with interest.
The additional IBRD loan is being taken by Sidbi directly from the World Bank with a
guarantee from the Government of India, the ministry said in an official release. The loan
amount was doubled to $400 million from the original SIDBI demand owing to the enhanced
credit requirements of SMEs in the economic downturn.
The finance ministry is in talks with the World Bank for more funds for other financial
institutions too. That might take some more time as they are firsttime
loans, a senior official
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The World Bank is disbursing an extra $100 billion to various countries over three years from
July onwards. India also avails loans under the World Bank's International Development
Assistance. It is an interestfree
loan, which has to be repaid along with a processing fee.
Now India borrows about $1.6 billion a year under this window, which is likely to be
This will help scale up the fullydisbursed
original project, which had been approved by the
World Bank on November 30, 2004, the bank had said in a statement when the loan was
approved on April 30. World Bank Country Director for India Roberto Zagha had then said
the project is part of a larger programme of support in response to India's request for funding
in light of the financial crisis. "It is targeted particularly at SMEs, to help address the credit
slowdown that has resulted from the financial crisis," he said. "Achieving and sustaining
growth and employment will require a sharp stepup
in industrial and services growth. This
needs to be spurred by SMEs which have the greatest potential to provide employment," he
The credit facility supported by the project will channel longterm
and working capital loans
for SMEs—which contribute about 45% of India's manufacturing output—in geographical
areas beyond those that were covered in the original project. This includes expanding to new
geographical areas, possibly to India's lowgrowth
states, thereby promoting inclusive
Government lines up Rs 1 lakh crore for Metro projects
The government will pump in over Rs 1 lakh crore in the Metro
rail projects that are under consideration for major cities in the
country. Currently, Metro rail projects are in progress at various
stages in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, while
projects are under evaluation for Pune, Lucknow, Kochi,
Ludhiana and Jaipur among others.
With increasing number of projects under implementation for modern mass transportation,
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is now eyeing to offer its consultancy to other
Managing Director E Sreedharan of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said: "DMRC
will expand its network to 190 km by 2010, making it one of the largest networks in the
world. Metro rail projects are progressing in various other cities, where we are expected to
pump in Rs 1 lakh crore in the days to come. India will require 250300
coaches per year."
Mr Sreedharan was in Vadodara to roll out the first metro coach manufactured at
Bombardier's facility at Savli near Vadodara. He added that with the increasing scope of
work, the cost of executing Metro projects has gone down 45%,
despite the surge in inflation
in recent years.
Commenting on the viability of Metro project in Ahmedabad, he said that it can be viable
only if extra land can be accessed for the commercial development. It may be recalled here
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that the Gujarat government formed a company Metrolink
Express for GandhinagarAhmedabad
(MEGA) with share capital of Rs 200 crore.
Meanwhile, DMRC is also eyeing consulting projects overseas. Mr Sreedharan said that
countries in South East Asian region are seeking the expertise of DMRC. "We have been
approached even by Pakistan and I, along with my team members, visited Lahore recently.
Some of them are even pursuing us to take the responsibility of project execution also, but we
lack necessary resources and trained manpower for the same. Indonesia for Jakarta and Syria,
too, have approached us," said Mr Sreedharan. Sri Lanka is also very keen for support from
DRMC and the corporation recently sent its team to study the plans there.