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Friday, September 30, 2011

Woman gets back lost gold,laptop and another gold incident – TOI

Kavitha should consider herself extremely fortunate – for she got back what was lost by her so negligently.  At times, when property gets stolen from safe places, this woman lost a bag containing laptop and 20 sovereigns of gold negligently on the road  -  there are good people all the time and a good soul who found it on the road, took pains to safely hand it over to the nearest police station.

The Police, especially the Assistant Commissioner Mr Dhanraj deserve special appreciations also.    (do read the tail piece also)

Today’s (29th Sept 2011) Times of India reports :


Chennai: A techie,who lost her bag containing 20 sovereigns of gold and a laptop,was pleasantly surprised when police called her three days later on Wednesday saying they had found it. The bag was handed over to the police by another techie,who found it abandoned on the road.

R Kavitha,an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) who lost her bag,sent an email complaint to Selaiyur assistant commissioner of police Dhanraj on Tuesday.On Wednesday,the police called to say they found her bag.I was asked to confirm if it was mine.I was really happy to see my bag and the contents, Kavitha said.  Kavitha left the bag behind while she was loading luggage onto the car from her house in Rajakilpakam near East Tambaram.She realized that she had lost her bag only later.I was in a hurry to go to my sisters house in Meenambakkam.I think I left the bag on the road.When I realized,I returned to check whether I had left the bag in the house.I was anxious,confused and scared.I searched but did not find it, she said.She then sent a mail to Dhanraj.   Kavitha is a native of Chidambaram and lives with her family in Rajakilpakkam,police said.The abandoned baggage was recovered by another software engineer,R Madhusudan,who worked for CSC Computers.He found the bag containing the valuables lying on the road near Rajakilpakkam and handed it over at the local police station.
On Wednesday,Kavitha and Madhusudan were called to the Greater Chennai police commissioners office in Egmore,where the recovered valuables were handed over to Kavitha in front of assistant commissioner of police (PRO) A D Mohanraj.Kavitha commended Madhusudan and the police personnel for retrieving her missing valuables.

 a photo from Indian Express of articles being returned
In another unrelated incident a Mayiladuthurai based businessman was allegedly robbed of 12.5 kg of gold worth 3.25 crore.  Bizman robbed of Rs 3.5 crore worth gold on highway.  TOI reports that  the  businessman,Pavan Kumar jain (39),claimed four persons on two bikes intercepted his car at Patharakkudi on the
Seerkali Bypass Road
at 11.50pm on Tuesday.

Police said Jain,who was in the business of buying and selling gold bars,had gone to Chennai to make his usual purchases.While returning,he had stopped his car at Mamallapuram on the East Coast Road for supper,and this was where the miscreants are alleged to have noticed that he was carrying gold.Police said that Jain had kept the gold in a briefcase and placed it on the dashboard.  The four highway robbers rode ahead of Jains car and suddenly forced it to a halt.They gestured to him to get out,and when there was no immediate response from Jain,one of them broke the front window,while another pointed a gun toward the victim.The four persons then escaped with the prized catch of gold,even as Jain stood motionless in the thick of night.Jain lives with his family at Pattamangalam Street in Mayiladuthurai Later,Jain told the Seerkazhi police that the number plates of the robbers bikes had been covered with a black cloth.


Tailpiece  :  that he had the briefcase containing gold with him and went for supper theory.  The Police also said that the narration of Jain was inconsistent.  Interestingly, DSP of Seerkazhi A Annadurai, who visited the crime scene was quoted as saying to TOI that Police did not buy the businessman’s claim that he was carrying gold worth 3.25 crore in the car.


**  in the Chennai incident, even by a casual estimate, the value was around 4.5 lakhs.   The loss appears to have arisen more out of negligence and carelessness and after having lost such a huge amount, the person did not even care to rush to the nearest Police Station for preferring a complaint.

Instead she had chosen to lodge complaint through e-mail.  Mercifully, she had not posted this on Facebook and Twitter and expect the Police to follow up.  Such is the casual attitude of people.

Police did not retrieve but a Police official replete with so much of work including Crime investigation, bandobust duties to politicians, busy during the preparations to local elections – still occasioned to see the e-mail and took action !!  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rahul Sharma in - Harbhajan dropped - ODI squad announced

Have you heard of Bell’s Palsy

-         it is a form of  facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the facial nerve  that results in the inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. Several conditions can cause facial paralysis and when  no specific cause can be identified, the condition is known as Bell's palsy. Named after Scottish anatomist Charles Bell, who first described it, Bell's palsy is the most common acute mononeuropathy (disease involving only one nerve) and is the most common cause of acute facial nerve paralysis.  It is thought that an inflammatory condition leads to swelling of the facial nerve. The nerve travels through the skull in a narrow bone canal beneath the ear. Nerve swelling and compression in the narrow bone canal are thought to lead to nerve inhibition, damage or death. No readily identifiable cause for Bell's palsy has been found.

This young boy is from Jallandhar,  he is tall 6’4” – was once afflicted by this disease but in the last IPL season was on a roll.  In fact, playing for Pune Warriors against Mumbai Indians at DY Patil Stadium, he had a dream spell of  4-0-7-2 and won the Man of the match changing the trend of batsman friendly format of T20.

Rahul Sharma was the standout spinner in IPL 2011 with 16 wickets at a superb economy-rate of 5.46. and it augurs well for Indian Cricket that he has been picked up in the ODI squad to play England at home, next month. 

Harbhajan has been dropped; there will be no Sachin, Sehwag, Zaheer, Yuvraj, … but the squad looks young and fit.  The squad announced today is :

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina , Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, R Vinay Kumar, Sreenath Aravind, Rahul Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Praveen Kumar.

Good mix of Pacers : Praveen, Aaron, Yadav, Vinay and Arvind; Spinners – Ashwin, Rahul and Jadeja (!); Openers – Gambhir, Rahane & Parthiv.  Middle order : Kohli, Raina, Jadeja, Manoj Tiwary & Dhoni.

Will this team reverse the fortunes against England in the 5 one dayers remains to be seen.  The matches are scheduled to be :
Oct 14 – Hyderabad
Oct 17 – Delhi
Oct 20 – Mohali
Oct 23 – Mumbai
Oct 25 – Kolkata

On Oct 29, India will play a solitary T20 against England at Kolkatta.


Best wishes to the team, especially to Rahul Sharma


Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

A Super over Thriller : NSW Vs Trinidad & Tobago

I had earlier posted about the overdose and possible spectator fatigue – but the still the charm of the game reigns supreme.  The Nokia Champions League T20 2011 has provided great entertainment to the cricket fan.

There have been some tall scores, some low scoring thrillers – with at least 3 matches decided on the last ball.  Cape Cobras prevailed over NSW in the last ball in scoring 135; the RCB / Warriors match of 172 also spilled to last over;  Malinga scored the winning runs when MI trailed chasing 158 against CSK.   But Trinidad & Tobago must be wondering what they need to do for securing that elusive win when everything seem in their favour through out matches but not the final result alone.

Against Mumbai Indians, T&T batted poorly scoring a paltry 98 but fought back brilliantly and perhaps the spread out field enabled a result in favour of MI.  The match went down the wire, two needed of a final delivery when T&T captain Daren Ganga chose to keep  a fairly spread out field.  It was the nervy Yuzvendra Chahal, the 21 year old who bowls leg spin with no great exposure at the stumps  -there was high drama as the low full toss was hit to mid wicket and batsmen tumbled like a hare – the throw of Adrian Barath was off the mark, Denesh Ramdin fumbled – if he had hit the target with a underarm lob, then it would have been a super over -  more excitement for the spectator.

Yesterday there was another low scoring thriller – NWS and T&T were locked at 139 and the final excitement of Super Over….  The rules are simple – the teams nominate a bowler and 3 batsman – two out and that is the end, maximum of 6 legal deliveries and how much can be scored of them ?

The hero of the match Moses Henriques faced Ravi Rampaul.  1st ball – could not put bat to ball; 2nd both batsmen could have been run out – poor throwing; then everything happened it was : 0, 2, 4, 4, 4, & 4.  NSW finished with 18.  T&T named Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons  and Bravo.  NSW surprised them with Steve O’ Keefe the spinner.  Bravo tried coming out but was rightly sent back as they have to stick to the initial order.  1st ball a single, 2nd another, 3rd 2;  15 off 3.  4th Simmons whacked over long on for a 6 – 5th was a wide and the legal one was hit, misfielded and 4; 4 needed for a win of the last delivery – Simmons got under and hoisted only to find Warner at long off.

In the other match Cape Cobra were sailing smoothly but ended up posting 146. CSK lost their wickets at regular intervals but Dwayne Bravo’s pyrotechnics (46 off 25) took them home with 2 balls to spare. 

That is almost half way stage – 9 gone of initial 20 and total of 23..  more excitement ahead

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Car Carrier Tijuca makes it maiden voyage to East London, South Africa

The 21st Sept loading at East London Harbour of 3168 cars would have captured all headlines and Liberty Ace should have garnered all attention.  But all that appears to have been shadowed by the maiden visit of  Tijuca.

For those with passion of cars, Mercedes represents luxury –  a status symbol.  Mercedes-Benz  is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks, and is  a division of its parent company, Daimler AG.   It has many variants of which C Class is one.  It is touted as a compact executive car and was first introduced in 1993, as a replacement of 190 range (W 201 nicknamed as Baby Benz).  For some time, it was the smallest model.  It is produced in Mercedes factories in Sindelfingen, Bremen, Brazil and East London.  The C-Class is the entry-level offering in Mercedes-Benz's United States lineup.  Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the global company, Daimler AG. It manufactures Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars in right-hand drive for the local market and in left-hand drive execution for export to the United States of America.

East London earlier known as Port Rex, is a city on the southeast coast of South Africa, situated at 32.97°S and 27.87°E in the Buffalo City Local Municipality in the Amatole District of the Eastern Cape Province. The city lies on the Indian Ocean coast, largely between the Buffalo River and the Nahoon River, and is the country's only river port.   

Photo courtesy : http://www.myza.co.za/
The Port saw some hectic activity as on 21st Sept 11 with the loading of  3168 new-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars, destined for the United States of America on the Liberty Ace vessel.   Now the Port will see more activity with the calling of 231M long Tijuca.  The 231-metre Tijuca  became the largest car-carrier ever to sail into the port of East London.

It is the longest Car carrier and belongs to Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA a global maritime industry group, headquartered in Lysaker, Norway.   The  company's first vessel was the Mathilde in 1886.  The company was renamed Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS (WWL) in 2005.   The 13 deck ship  Vessel Tijuca on its  maiden voyage to South Africa, took advantage of a recent expansion project which saw the berth at the car terminal deepened from 9.3 to 10.5 metres.  The Port authorities are buoyant of future  business opportunities projecting a positive outlook in the new vehicles market subsequent to this arrival.  The Vessel built  in  2008 and operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, the Tijuca has capacity for up to 8,000 units of rolling cargo such as cars, high and heavy cargo and some breakbulk cargo.  It stands at 231.6 metres in length with a gross tonnage of 71 673. It has a breadth of 32.26 metres and a summer draught of 11.3 metres when fully laden.

The ship also boasts a ‘green Passport’, issued by Lloyds Register according to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) guidelines. This confirms its application of the latest technology which ensures it operates in an environmentally efficient manner especially with low greenhouse gas emissions.  The ship has a crew of 26 consisting of  people from Philippines, Europe and India and would depart to Melbourne, Australia from there.  

Being specially built Car carrier, cargo can be  loaded and discharged over a wide and strong stern ramp or via the smaller side ramp. Deck 6 can be accessed directly via the side ramp, thus permitting two separate cargo flows during loading and discharging. The cargo decks below main deck are served via fixed and hoistable ramps to allow simultaneous loading of deck 1-4.  The cargo decks above main deck are generally accessed via fixed ramps. In addition to the fixed ramp system from deck 5 to deck 13, additional hoistable ramps provide flexible access to the aft part of the ship from deck 8 to 12.

The vessel is powered by one electronically controlled slow speed, two stroke main engine and propelled by a single fixed pitch (FP) propeller cast in Ni-Al-Bronze.

Tailpiece :  the price of Mercedes Benz C class starts from 30 lakhs and ranges up to 75 lakhs.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exhibition of dolls – Navarathiri Golu – Inviting YOU

The festival of “Navarathri” is now on in South India.  This comes at the ascendence of moon in the month of Purattasi.  This year the celebrations have started on Tuesday, 26th Sept. 2011.  The festivities are to Goddesses Durga, Maha Lakshmi and Saraswathi.    It is customary in Southern States to keep a display known as ‘bommai Golu” (display of dolls) in most houses.  This is an ornate exhibition of various dolls and figurines of Gods, National Leaders, Fruits, Vegetables, Animals etc.,  Traditionally the dolls used to be made of earthern soil, now a days many are of paper.  The dolls are carefully kept packed throughout the year and are displayed during these nine days of “Navarathri”.

Every day, people invite their near and dear.  People visit the houses of Relatives, neighbours and friends for seeing the Bommai Golu and for exchanging pleasantries.  Gifts are also given to visitors.

Each day, offerings  including various types of sundal are made to the dolls.  The 9th day is devoted to Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning and special poojas are offered to  Goddess Saraswati - the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books, pens, education oriented things  and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge.  Also, tools are placed in the pooja as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja is performed for them.  Most shop keepers also clean their shops,  have them white washed and conduct pooja praying for their well being.

The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" – is considered to be  the most auspicious day of all.  It is the day of evil being destroyed by good.  It marks a new and prosperous beginning. New ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity.   Many have the initiation of education for their children on this auspicious day.  

The mood is one of festivity and bonhomie.  Here are a couple of photos of ‘golu’ in our house.  Do visit our house and share our happiness..





Regards – Srinivasan Sampathkumar.

How the System of Taxation works to the benefit of common man !!

Taxes and personal taxes (Income tax) are a matter of concern for common man.  The salaried class generally look to the salary date (which in many cases is the last working day of the month) and 31st July is a much remembered date as it is the due date for filing of return by individual earners within the tax net.  As usual people keep things till the last moment (some might be pushed to do so by the act of others) and there would be great chaos and queues at the IT counters.  Quite often you can hear the complaint that only the salaried class is subjected to so much of taxation while many evade the tax net by not properly declaring their incomes.  The immediate example that comes to mind is that of cine industry where you would often read as ..xx. crores as budget of the film but the producer, actors & actresses who are part of that crores + budget do not end up paying tax (or atleast not to the extent that we hear them to be earning)

Tax is a necessary evil.  There are many areas which are handled by the Government and for rendering those services and providing infrastructure, the State certainly needs revenue.  Where from the revenue come, if not from the subjects ?  (the only Q is whether such taxation is equitable ?? and whether it is properly distributed ???)

"It was only for the good of his subjects that he collected taxes from them, just as the Sun draws moisture from the Earth to give it back a thousand fold" –   Kalidas in Raghuvansh

The system of taxation is not the handiwork of any of the present day Finance Ministers or their wizardly Economists.  The system of taxation has been in vogue for ages and it is stated that there are references to the taxation in Manu Smriti and Arthasastra in varying measures.  The Indian Income Tax Web quotes Manu, the ancient sage as saying the King should levy taxes but should be cautious not to overdo that as it would burden the subjects.  The  king should arrange the collection of taxes in such a manner that the subjects did not feel the pinch of paying taxes. He laid down that traders and artisans should pay 1/5th of their profits in silver and gold, while the agriculturists were to pay 1/6th, 1/8th and 1/10th of their produce depending upon their circumstances.  Not only this, taxes were also levied on various classes of people like actors, dancers, singers and even dancing girls. Taxes were paid in the shape of gold-coins, cattle, grains, raw-materials and also by rendering personal service.

Kautilya’s Arthasastra deals with the system of taxation in a real elaborate and planned manner at a time when the Mauryan Empire was as its glorious reign.  A major portion of Arthasastra is devoted by Kautilya to financial matters including financial administration. The State not only collected a part of the agricultural produce which was normally one sixth but also levied water rates, octroi duties, tolls and customs duties. Taxes were also collected on forest produce as well as from mining of metals etc. Salt tax was an important source of revenue and it was collected at the place of its extraction. 

There are direct and indirect taxes.  The one paid directly to Govt by the persons on whom it is imposed is Direct tax which would include tax on income.  Indirect taxes are Sales tax, value added tax, service tax etc.,   

In simpler terms, tax is nothing but sharing of expenses of the Government by those who are the subjects of the Government.  It is the subjects who have to bear all the taxes – there can be various ways of distributing the tax burden.  In many civilized societies,  methodology is arrived at to ensure that it does not burden the poorest of the poor and the richer persons share a higher % - but in many instances, this is not put to practice properly and here is a parable explaining the present way of taxation…….

Imagine a small Society and ten men of that group dine and enjoy every day in a particular place.  A simple dinner is what they have every day at a small eatery and their bill for all the 10 of them comes to Rs.100/-

Now, Rs.100/- is the expenditure, which obviously have to be shared by those 10 persons.  The simplest would be each sharing equally and thus each person paying Rs.10/-  -  Equally, what a preposterous  suggestion ! Injustice to poor !!  -  will this not help the rich men spending less and the poor having a higher burden (even though all of them eat and some may eat more than then others – i.e., enjoy more or at least equal of what others get to enjoy)

The wisest amongst them arrives at a solution akin to the way we pay our taxes……….   The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing .... The fifth would pay Rs.1; The sixth would pay Rs.3 ; Seventh would pay Rs.7; Eighth would pay Rs.12.; Ninth would pay Rs.18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay Rs.59.  So a system was evolved on sharing the expenditure equitably !!

The ten of them went to the same eatery and dined everyday and things were smooth.  Everyone was happy with the arrangement.  The problem came with a good natured move by the eatery owner.  As all of them had been patronizing him regularly, he offered a discount of 20% and thus the costs came down to Rs.80/- from the erstwhile Rs.100/- 

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six men -- the paying customers?  How could they divide the Rs.20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share"? They realized that Rs.20 divided by six is Rs.3.33. But if they subtracted that from every body's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man (who had been paying Re 1 & Rs.3 hitherto)  would each end up being paid to eat.  So the Eatery  owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay!
And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid Rs.2 instead of Rs.3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid Rs.5 instead of Rs.7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid Rs.9 instead of Rs.12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid Rs.14 instead of Rs.18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid Rs.50 instead of Rs.59 (15% savings).

Though the tenth was paying Rs.50/- he was better off than before – as also were the others – the first five were not paying at all – whilst sixth to 10th had got a discount. 

After a couple of days, one of the non payers prepared a statement which showed the reduction as : 0,0,0,0,0,1,2,3,4,9.  sooner they discussed with frustration that the 10th man was enjoying the maximum benefit of that discount – a lion’s share of the discount of Rs.20/-, and how improper it is to do so !!  Is that not a situation of rich exploiting poor ……..  the first few were more aggrieved as they could visualize the discount that was being offered  but they were unjustly denied their share of the bounty … how cruel and how manipulative rich are !!! they exclaimed.

So, the next day, the nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.  Battered and bruised and driven to despair, the tenth man could not show up for dining the next night.  The others revelled but when it came to paying the bill it was Rs.72/- and if the rest were to pool in the same way, it would only total to Rs.30/-  -  again they cursed the system and the rich men for placing them in such an embarrassing situation !!

---------  that Dear (s) is perhaps is how the equitable system of taxation works.  The people who are industrious, have money and put much of their efforts, earn more and pay more of the taxes.  Whilst those sit back and relax could enjoy the benefits of taxation. 

Any reduction in taxation should ideally benefit those who pay more but we keep restricting the tax net, leaving those in the bottom out all the time and continue to fleece more of those who have been paying. 

At some point of time, they might get frustrated and decide not to show up any more – go for a different place or even simply not earn at all……… the atmosphere will only worsen and certainly not be friendlier.    

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

[one of my good friends forwarded this to me and on search found that this has been circulating on the web for some years now and had been attributed to some Economists who have all declined that it was their explanation.  However, this makes an interesting and logical reading…  posting this with some local flavour though I cannot claim to be the author in any manner]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prison van driven 96 miles to take defendant 60 yards – Democratic deliverance of Justice.

The British ruled us for centuries and have left behind legacy.  We follow them in many ways.. most of our laws are based on the UK legislated statutes.. Democracy is Government for the people by the people and the majority decides what is good for the Country ! – then there are Human Rights activists who ensure that people do not suffer unduly at the hands of democratically elected rulers !!
Kasab is in news (continues to be)  - months back when a journalist asked why he cannot be hanged immediately after the Sessions Court verdict,  the Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily had an interesting answer:   "The question is that it is not Afzal or anybody. You know you cannot pick and choose and hang people. There is justice. Terrorists who killed Indira Gandhi are still waiting. He has to be hanged. There is one more terrorist who is involved in terrorism. He is waiting. I am not defending anyone but I am for evolving a system for mercy petitions." (And in India we all know how long it will take to 'evolve a system')  The Minister also said that there were many people waiting in the death row in Pakistan, who included Indians. "And do you want all of them to be hanged immediately ?" he asked.
(Source : MSN :  http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4944723&page=0)
Don’t despise him.  He is not a sinner – there are much more important things to do for a democratically elected Government and the Nation sure would soon forget the wounds of 26th Nov 2008.   On that fateful day, more than 10 coordinated shooting and bombing shook the entire Nation – the terrorists invaded from Pak sea waters and went on carnage killing 164 and wounding more than 308.  The attacks occurred at Chathrapathi Shivaji Terminus, Oberoi Trident, Taj hotel, Leopold Care, Cama Hospital, Jewish community centre at Nariman house and more.  Many brave uniformed personnel sacrificed their lives -  one of the attackers Ajmal Kasab was captured alive.  There was photographic, videographic and in person evidence of this heinous crime and the attacker.  The Nation was outraged and severa Indian lawyers refused to represent Kasab citing ethical concerns. A resolution was passed unanimously by the  Bombay Metropolitan Magistrate Court's Bar Association, which has more than 1,000 members, saying that none of its members will defend any of the accused of the terror attacks.
India is a democracy and wants everything to be fair even to its attacker !  Kasab wrote to the Pakistani High Commission in India requesting help and legal aid. In the letter, he confirmed the nationality of himself and the nine slain terrorists as Pakistani.  Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab lives and laughs still today – the families of some of those brave souls are living in chill penury and some of those injured are leading a miserable life.   On 3 May 2010, Court convicted him of murder, waging war on India, possessing explosives, and other charges and on 6th May trial court sentenced him to death on four counts and to a life sentence on five other counts. He was found guilty of 80 offenses, including waging war against the nation; Kasab's death sentence was upheld by the Bombay High Court on 21 February 2011
We are a Nation bound by procedures.  The convict  Kasab has challenged his conviction and death sentence in the Supreme Court, which has asked for trial court records.  According to reports,  Maharashtra government has appointed a panel of two top lawyers in the country to prosecute the sole surviving 26/11 terror attack convict, Ajmal Aamir Kasab, in the Supreme Court hearing. Fixing the fee for Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam, a former solicitor general of the country, at Re 1, it has decided to pay several lakhs to advocate Ujjwal Nikam. The duo will together represent the state in the case.  It is stated that  Advocate Gopal Subramaniam's total fee will be Re 1. However, he can claim for the actual miscellaneous expenses occurred during the period. Advocate Ujjwal Nikam's result-oriented hearing fee will be Rs. 50,000 per appearance, besides Rs. 10,000 an hour for discussion and exchange of opinion. He will also be get business-class air travel for visits related to the case, along with a ministerial suite at Maharashtra Sadan in the capital. (Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/business-class-travel-for-nikam-as-he-prosecutes-kasab-136557&cp)

--- now something from  Daily Mail of UK.  
UK also honours Justice and ensures that all get fair and just treatment.  The report states that a prison van travelled 96 miles to transfer a defendant just 60 yards from a police station to a court because walking would 'infringe his human rights'. A criminal Oliver Thomas had to be presented in Magistrates Court and that was situated almost 60 yards away from Banbury Police Station and could take a 30 second walk.   But if he were to be produced in the Court that way, the Police would have to handcuff the prisoner and take him down the street y walk – and that perhaps could stray into the area of human rights !! they have a right to have their identity protected and such production into Courts is usually done by a covered vehicle, provided specially by a contracted agency.  It is reported that the request for a van came late and all nearby based vehicles and crews had been allocated other routes and schedules.  So,
- a prison van was sent from South Coast to take the defendant on this 60 yard journey and the journey reportedly cost the Govt around £1,000.  Newspaper reports suggest  that a taxi journey from Southampton to Banbury, one-way, would cost approximately £276 for the two hour journey.  Wages for two staff in the van for the entire day were said to approximate £400, plus vehicle upkeep and costs which took the total to over £1,000 for the single trip.  It emerged later that the prison transport firm which moved Thomas was based in Oxford, just a few miles from Banbury, but had to send a van from Southampton as no vehicle was available. Defence barrister Claire Fraser said she was informed that GEOAmey, which is paid £90million a year to take defendants between custody and courts, had to send a van across three counties to transport Thomas from the police station to the magistrates' court traversing 96 miles for transporting a distance of less than 60 yards.  Judge Corrie came down harsh on the spending of public money this way.   
Coming back to India,  there were reports that considering various aspects including the other mercy petitions on wait,  Kasab's turn may come somewhere around 2018 or beyond. By then we would have spent close to Rs 100 crore in keeping him alive and secure.  In Feb 2011, there were widely circulated media reports that the  Maharashtra government spends close to Rs 9 lakh a day to keep the 21-year-old terrorist from the Pakistani town of Faridkot 'safe' till he goes to the gallows. The government had spent Rs 31 crore on Kasab by November 2010. "The state's debt has crossed the Rs 1.85 lakh crore mark. But of course, where security of the state and the country is concerned, we don't discuss the financial situation,'' a senior government official was quoted in an agency report.  The Rs 31 crore figure is strictly unofficial since the government is wary of letting out any information on Kasab. Following the directives of the Centre, besides procuring weapons for emergency use, vehicles and equipment, two special cells were created inside Arthur Road jail and JJ hospital for Kasab which involved huge cost.   Besides the special prison cell, another cell was created inside JJ Hospital for Kasab's treatment. Nearly Rs 1 crore was spent for the creation of a bullet-proof cell on the JJ Hospital premises for Kasab. The irony is that after the money was spent, Kasab was never taken there. Instead, doctors were summoned to the Arthur Roadjail, whenever Kasab had a health problem.  And Kasab, who was wounded before being captured, has been attended to by around 20 doctors for his various ailments in the past year.
The Maharashtra government also spends a large amount on the deployment of central forces to guard the Arthur Road jail.  Apart from all this, tax-payers money was used to realign Mumbai monorail along the  Arthur Road jail because Kasab is in there.
Long live democracies – and the fair deliverance of Justice…..

Illegal imports into the Nation - loss of revenue - there is more than what meets the eye

Today (27th Sept 2011) Times of India – Chennai Edition has a news prominently covered. It states that the  Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Monday  (26th sept) busted an international smuggling racket and seized Rs 13.54 crore worth of electronic equipment from three places in the city in a 15-day operation. Two kingpins, said to have been operating the illegal network between Singapore and Chennai port, were arrested.

There is much behind than the news than what could be read and understood.  The World is global village and now goods are being consigned to and transported between countries with less hassles.  Gone are those days, when importers had to undergo lot of trouble for obtaining import license and Govt. was always worried about balance of payment. The opening of the market has meant lot of items which otherwise are not even required do find a great market – cosmetics and other items get dumped in to so called developing countries by the marketing and coercive techniques of some advanced countries.  
Import means bringing any goods into India from a place outside India.  Goods may be imported into a country because they may not be freely available, some may be available for a lower price than what they could be manufactured in a country and then there are things which have brand value and have value to say that they are imported – seemingly classier only because it comes from other place !
As all would know, all goods imported into India have to  pass through the procedure of customs for proper examination, appraisal, assessment and evaluation. This helps the custom authorities to charge the proper tax and also check the goods against the illegal import.  Time and again, people complain that there are too many procedures.  The systems are in place to are preventive checks and ensure that there are enough filters to keep the system flowing.  Yet unscrupulous elements find ways to cut through them and use them against the interests of the Nation. 
All importers have to file a statement detailing the nature and value of goods to be imported, known as Bill of Entry.   If the clearance is done through EDI, there is no formal B/E but a cargo declaration with prescribed particulars is required for processing.  Along with B/E various documents such as Invoice, Packing list, Bill of lading, Importer’s declaration, license (if the nature of goods so require) etc., are filed.  There are some major importers who have the green channel facility (just as an individual  walks out of the Airport by merely declaring his personal luggage in case of returning from a foreign travel) – which means clearance of goods without routine examination of goods.  For other goods, physical examination of the goods is prescribed.   On scrutiny of the documents submitted, if the assessing officer finds it necessary to examine the goods first, to decide the correctness of value and classification of the goods under the customs and central excise tariffs or at the request of the importer, the officer  gives an examination order.  The assessing officer verifies the correctness of value and classifies the goods and indicates the rates of basic customs duty leviable under the customs tariff.  The approval is known as ‘Passed out of Customs Charge’.  Of course it may not be humanly possible to open all consignments and do a 100% physical check going the volume of imports, packing techniques, containerization and the wherewithal of the Government machinery.  But that cannot be an excuse of things going out of control.     
Now, getting back to the report of TOI – it is stated that DRI busted international smuggling racket and seized 13.54 crore worth of electronic equipment from 3 places in a 15 day operation and arrested some persons involved in this.   The report states that based on a tip-off, DRI Chennai zone officials intercepted a container at the Chennai port that had arrived from Singapore on September 12. An inspection found several airconditioning units in the front portion and TV sets at the back. After removing the cartons, the officials found 593 TVs, including LED, LCD, 3D varieties of different international brands, 30 Sony TV stands, 114 Sony USB adapters and 70 Sony 3D glasses. “In the documents produced for clearance, the goods had been declared as 205 pieces of split airconditioners and 273 pieces of Sanyo tape recorders,” a DRI officer said.
Further investigations revealed that the importer’s name and address were fictitious. “One address, in Tiruvanmiyur, was found to be a TNHB flat complex that had been demolished,” said DRI additional director general C Rajan.   On September 21, DRI officials nabbed kingpins J Shaik Parith (28) and J Basheer Ahamed of Royapuram. “Both admitted their involvement in the smuggling and said that earlier, too, they had smuggled in TVs, airconditioners and cosmetic items,” Rajan said.
    Based on the information given by the accused, DRI officials searched three godowns and residences belonging to them. “We found Rs 7 crore worth of TVs, airconditioners and cosmetic items at four godowns — one each on
Angappa Naicken Street
and Kalmandapam and two in Royapuram,” Rajan said. Their residential and business premises were also raided. “We seized a laptop and pen drive containing details of their transactions with people in Singapore,” Rajan, who led the search, said.  The total customs duty evaded by them was around Rs 10 crore, he said. “Our teams are investigating the money transactions. We suspect that a group dealing in hawala transactions could be involved,” Rajan said.
In an unconnected incident, (another report of TOI) mentions of Chennai Airport Police arresting 3 contract employees of Air Cargo for stealing cell phones from a Nokia export consignment.   It is stated that the theft took place after the clearance of cargo for export near the runway.  TOI reports “   A senior officer at airport police station said that about 32 cellphones were missing from the consignment and 14 pieces were recovered from a driver and two loading staff.     The police recovered the stolen boxes of 14 Nokia phones which were to be exported in a Jet Cargo freighter. They arrested 3 persons.   In the last six months, four similar cases have been cracked by the airport police.”
The DRI Officials do deserve kudos for the good work in seizing the goods illegally imported. 
But this perhaps is only a tip of iceberg and there have been many instances as reported in papers of goods being illegally imported or imported under wrong declarations.  Either the machinery is not fool-proof or the unscrupulous elements use some corrupt persons to bend or cheat the system for their personal gains.  This not only denies rightful amount by way of import duties to the Indian Government, but more importantly puts the Nation under a higher security risk.  Days are not good and there have been many heinous crimes committed against the Nation.  If people can smuggle contraband and high valued goods without the notice of the authorities, one dreads to think what will happen if arms and ammunition are brought inside the country clandestinely.  Remember the blasts at Mumbai that rocked the Nation were by RDX chemicals brought in clandestinely by hardcore terrorists.
What was found was not a personal hand baggage, which somebody had left and ran away, when security was tight ! – it was container load of goods.  For importing goods into India
a)  registration of  importer is a pre-requisite for import of goods. Procedurrally, the Customs Dept.  are not to  allow clearance of goods unless the importer has obtained IEC Number from issuing authority.  The waiver is only in respect of goods imported for personal use.  
The granting of IEC  Code Number  is through a procedure wherein the proposed importer has to submit application alongside documents which include photos, PAN no. etc.,
b) there would be documents in the nature of Bill of Entry which are filed through a recognized CHA
c)  there of course would be an Invoice with details of seller / consignor and terms of sale
d)  there would the carriage document which again will have details.
The reports suggest that the details of importer is fictitious !!  So easy to pass wool around others’ eyes.   If somebody has forged so many documents – still there could be trails not all those who were involved in the transaction such  as carrier or CHA or local transporter, agent – would have been deceived with fake identity.  Either it is not so believable story or everyone is so casual and does their work without even doing the basic check….
Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Important Information for LIC Policy Holder – providing bank mandate.

Dear (s)

Most likely that you have taken a Policy covering your life (if not, it is better you do it today itself).   Life entails risk, which is the possibility of loss.  Mankind generally looks to security and avoid uncertainty. If dying prematurely leaving a dependent family to fend for itself is bad, equally bad is that of living till old age without viable means of financial support.

Death is inevitable but a premature risk is often fraught with economic implications.  The family of the person is exposed to heavy financial turbulence  - perhaps that is the primary reason why people try to accumulate wealth (how some amass and still end up unsatisfied is a different topic altogether !)    Life insurance is a tool for risk management – a methodical way to deal with the risk of loss of life.   

The essence of insurance is the principle of indemnity, that the person who suffers a financial loss is placed in the same financial position after the loss as before the loss occurred. He neither profits nor is disadvantaged by the loss.  In Life Insurance, this cannot be practiced as accurately as done in General branch.  Here the indemnity or the payment gets limited to the amount of policy taken by the proposer.  It is done based on the economic value one attaches to thyself and may eventually prove to be inadequate also !    

General Insurance Policies are annual contracts -  Life Insurance policies are for longer periods.  Life insurance is a contract that pledges payment of a fixed amount (sum assured) to the policy holder (or his nominee) – upon a claim.  The claim could be arising out of an insured peril or by maturity of the policy.  Thus unlike all our Policies, all Life policies will result in payment of policy amount either on the date of maturity or on specified dates at periodic intervals or in the event of unfortunate event of the assured, if it occurs earlier.

The consideration (i.e., premium) is rarely collected in one lumpsum – but is paid throughout the currency of the policy at specified intervals, which can be annual, monthly, quaterly, bi-annual, as agreed upon.   The amount of premium payable is  actuarially created by calculating the relationships of mortality, interest, and expense, and the financial values resulting from each based on time.

Though there are many Life Insurers, the leader is  “Life Insurance Corporation of India” popularly known as LIC – the largest state owned company.  It funds close to 25% of Government’s expenses.  It was founded in 1956 with the merger of 243 Insurance companies and Provident societies.

Sure you have a Policy on your life with LIC of India.  If so, the following information is very relevant to you.



In order to ensure faster credit of policy moneys with greater security and privacy, L.I.C of India will be crediting all payments ( Survival Benefit, Maturity, Loan, Surrenders, payments of Pension & Group Schemes etc., ) directly to the Bank Account of the Policyholder / Beneficiary w.e.f 01/10/2011. This is also in accordance with the transparency drive of the Government of India.  The notification of LIC states that  it is not possible  for LIC to settle the policy payment in any other mode of payment like cheque.

LIC has requested all its policy holders to provide the Bank Account details by downloading the Policy e-payments NEFT mandate form.  The completed mandate forms  can be  handed over to any Branch office servicing at least one of the policy/policies listed in the mandate.   Once this is provided, the policy holder / claimant will get the credit in his own account on the due date of payment irrespective of the location of his bank. There will be no extra charges to the policy holders / claimant.       SMS and E-mail alerts would also  be provided wherever the policy payment is made to the policyholder/ claimants’ account through NEFT.
         
Besides filling up the mandate, the  policy holder / claimant should also submit either a cancelled blank cheque leaf or the photo copy of the page of the passbook / cheque book where details of the Bank account are mentioned.

If you are a Policy holder of LIC, do download the mandate by clicking this link :  LIC mandate

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Does reality of occurrence change with the place : Piracy Off Benin.

Underwriting is the art of evaluating the various risk factors of the proposal and in deciding whether to accept the risk and if so, decide on the insuring terms and conditions and then on the rates.  The job of the Marine Underwriter is much more complicated as he is expected to know – the traits of the subject matters, the risk factors associated with it, the transport and the transporter, the package, the political and geographical conditions to where the goods are destined for, the voyage and risks thereof, of the happenings of the World and much more…… all in a short time and some of the aspects are ever changing… really challenging indeed !

When a cargo laden vessel is attacked and captured – can there be any difference to the victim based on the geography of the occurrence.  There appears something  -  it is thought that there is perceived difference between piracy off the West African coast and that off the north-east coast of Africa.

One need not be a Marine Insurer to know the regular occurrences of Piracy – now almost synonymous with Somalia and Gulf of Aden – but Piracy is not restricted to Somalia alone as the Listed areas of Joint War Committee includes Africa (Djbouti, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia); defined waters of Indian Ocean; Pakistan, Georgia, Indonesia / Malaysia (specified); parts of Middle East (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia); South America (Venezuela) …. {Not the exhaustive list…}  If the Joint War Committee names a Country in their list, it shall include their coastal waters upto 12 nautical miles off shore….

The threat of piracy has been at its peak in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, for several years, prompting world powers to send their navies to safeguard international trade. In a recent revision in Aug 2011, The London Joint War Committee (JWC)  added Benin in West Africa to its list, permitting insurers to charge more for cover if vessels travel through the waters off the country.  That was prompted by the surge in incidents of  piracy in the Bight of Benin in recent months.   Marine insurers extended a war-risk zone for Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, and included waters off neighboring Benin for the first time as piracy attacks increase.  This declaration would allow the Underwriters to charge additional premium based on the value of ships entering the area. 


There have been suspicions that a particular group with focus on oil is operating in this area targetting especially tankers.  Benin otherwise may not be much in International news.  It is situated just to the west of Nigeria, the largest oil producer in that province. 
Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa bordering Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is located in the country's largest city of Cotonou.  Alongside Benin was added Gulf of Guinea but only the waters of Beninese and Nigerian EEZ north of Latitude 3°N. The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia.

There were incidents of Pirates (not the Somalis) but other groups active near Benin.  With increased incidence of such assaults, the  waters off the small nation of Benin appear to have become particularly risky due to the country’s weak enforcement capabilities..    On 14th Sept 2011  00:17 UTC, the NORTHERN BELL was attacked and boarded by armed pirates during STS operations while drifting in approx position 05 40 34 N, 01 31 07 E, 67.4nm SW of Cotonou Port, Benin on bearing 053. The Tanker was engaged in STS operations when boarded by armed pirates. The Master activated their SSAS and the crew went into the engine room and contacted the CSO. A short time later the pirates abandoned the Northern Bell. 

 Vessel photo – courtesy : geolocations.ws
On the same day off the coast of Benin pirates attacked and captured  MT  Mattheos I laden with oil, during the transfer of its cargo to a Norwegian-flagged vessel. The Cyprus flagged tanker had 23 crew with  Filipino ratings and Spanish, Peruvian and Ukrainian officers.  Chemical tanker Mattheos I IMO 9281554, dwt 45557, built 2004, flag Cyprus, manager Songa Ship Management, UK.

The misfortune was relative… Somalis keep vessels for long time extending even a year and demand huge ransoms.. this Chemical tanker was released with Pirates making no demands for a ransom !  They however, ransacked the ship's crew quarters and robbed the crew of their possessions while also draining away some of the ship’s fuel oil.   That perhaps is the difference between piracy off the West African coast and that off the north-east coast of Africa. The motive appears to have been robbery and not piracy for purposes of ransoming the ship.  There are some theories that  the pirates or robbers came from Nigeria although the actual attack took place off Benin, which has been the scene of a number of attacks on ships in recent weeks.

So the good news is Spanish tanker Mattheos I was released without any payment of ransom and its crew reportedly is fine.  The ship reportedly is now sailing to the coasts of Nigeria.   Sure they sailors would have undergone great ordeal – that is part of their sailing life….

With regards
S. Sampathkumar.