Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Feb 10, 2006
On `security' grounds
In case of a coup, the assets could be nationalised or even confiscated. Probably, herein lies the clue to why the Union Cabinet decided to deny permission to ONGC to pick up stake in a Nigerian oilfield owned by a former Defence Minister of that country.
It was said after that Cabinet meeting that permission was denied on "security considerations". It now transpires that security considerations were not limited to just the physical safety of Indian officials who might be posted at the site, but encompass other areas too.
Corporate bigwigs with investment plans for Uttar Pradesh are keenly watching the goings-on in the Samajwadi Party which rules that State. There are some straws in the wind that the party MP, Mr Raj Babbar's outbursts against the General Secretary, Mr Amar Singh, may not just be an individual's disagreement with the way Mr Amar Singh has been influencing the party's functioning.
What has intrigued observers is the sting in Mr Babbar's attack on Mr Amar Singh whom he has called a "fixer" and a "broker". This is not the first time that Mr Amar Singh has been under attack from his party members, but Mr Babbar, the film-star-turned-MP, has managed to attract sufficient media attention and brought into public domain what some used to be said in private conversations.
Those holding the view that Mr Babbar's attack was orchestrated point to unconfirmed reports that the phone tapes of Mr Amar Singh contain sufficient damaging evidence in the form of some comments against the party boss, Mr Mulayam Singh, and Mr Babbar's salvo could be first in the series which would ultimately see the back of Mr Amar Singh. In that eventuality, corporates may be a bit hesitant in committing substantial investments in UP.
Mr Amar Singh, incidentally, is not having the best of times. The person(s) who had his phones tapped remain(s) unknown; his good friend Mr Subrata Roy of Sahara is said to be unwell, both physically and financially, and had to sell Air Sahara to Jet. `Elder brother' Mr Amitabh Bachchan is still recovering from a serious ailment while `brother' Mr Anil Ambani had to literally snatch his share in the divided Reliance pie after a nasty public spat.
The `identity' crisis
Now that Mr Anil Ambani has got his share of companies, corporate watchers are hoping he will quickly settle the issue of his group's identity. In the latest round of the Ambani saga, people suddenly realised that while it was easy to identify the Mukesh Ambani group as RIL, it was not so in the case of the Anil Ambani enterprises.
For one, he has chosen to call his group RADAG (Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group). Then, repeating RNRL (Reliance Natural Resources Ltd) could be twist the tongue, though REVL (Reliance Energy Ventures Ltd) and RCVL (Reliance Capital Ventures Ltd) are not bad. Then, there is RCoVL (Reliance Communications Ventures Ltd).
Sporting a new look
Raj Bhavans have, in recent times, come under criticism for emerging as parallel centres of power and where Opposition parties believe manipulations are done. The Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad has a different story to tell. It has got a facelift, thanks to the passion, or call it indulgence, of its most recent occupant Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Its interiors now glow, with the rich chandeliers getting a good polish. The expansive walls have got new paintings and the lawns have been trimmed and sport a fresh green look. Raj Bhavans deserve a five-star look, claims Mr Shinde, who recently moved to Shram Shakthi Bhavan in New Delhi, to assume charge in the Power Ministry.
"The Raj Bhavan happens to be the first big halt for any international leader or corporate head, therefore the impression it conveys matters a lot. Hence, I thought Hyderabad, which attracts a large number of VVIP visitors, deserved an improved Raj Bhavan. Mr Shinde's predecessor, economist, Dr S. Rangarajan, had tough time, when portions of the Raj Bhavan caved in, slightly injuring his wife.
The other day, Mr Shinde spent more than half an hour, taking a group of mediapersons on a guided tour to show the changes. Was it a costly exercise? Mr Shinde said, not much, just see the huge wall painting of the Golconda, it has been nicely redone for just Rs 10,000. It is another matter that Mahatma Gandhi felt that leaders should sit on the floor and have simple tastes and serve the people. Today's world demands a different outlook, says Mr Shinde, recalling the Mahatma's views.
More Stories on : Politics
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |
Copyright © 2006, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line