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Tata, Godrej, Adani, Patanjali show interest in buying Sahara group properties


New Delhi, Apr 19: A large number of corporates, including Tatas, Godrej, Adani and Patanjali, have shown interest in buying embattled Sahara group’s 30 properties estimated to be worth about R 7,400 crore. The properties, mostly land parcels being auctioned by real estate consultant Knight Frank India, have also generated interest from several real estate developers including Omaxe and Eldeco, as also from HNIs and at least one public sector firm Indian Oil, sources familiar with the process said.
Besides, Chennai-based Apollo Hospital has shown interest in acquiring Sahara Hospital in Lucknow. Sources, however, said that the sale process and the valuation could get impacted due to a hurry in getting the deals closed within a short time because of an urgency on part of Saharas to get the money and deposit the same with the regulator Sebi as per Supreme Court directions.
All prospective buyers are asking for 2-3 months for due diligence, which is considered to be normal period of time in the high-value real estate transactions, sources added.
When contacted, a Sahara group spokesperson declined to disclose the names of prospective buyers, saying “deals are in process and will materialise soon”. He also said the details have been submitted to the Supreme Court.
Godrej Properties’ Executive Chairman Pirojsha Godrej said, “We are looking at part of one of the Pune land parcels for which Knight Frank is running the bidding process. It is still at a preliminary stage.” Omaxe’s CMD Rohtas Goel also confirmed that his company was interested in some properties. “As a prudent business organisation, we always keep exploring growth opportunities,” he said. (PTI)


 Nasscom says Trump order on H-1B visa to hurt US economy

Bengaluru, Apr 19: The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) in this country says American President Donald Trump’s new order to restrict H-1B visas is a big mistake for that country.
It has said there is a campaign to discredit the Indian services sector and the move would hurt the American economy, as the US faces a shortage of computer engineers.
“Regarding the concept of reorienting the H-1B lottery to be a system that prioritises the “most-skilled or highest-paid” visa applicants, the (US) Administration needs to be careful about unintended consequences,” it stated.
“Using salary levels as the metric is not necessarily the best indicator of benefits to the US economy. And, unless such a system reflects variations in wages in all parts of the US, it could advantage certain regions such as Silicon Valley over other regions of the US.”
The move by Trump will help Silicon Valley-based entities such as Google, Facebook and Oracle to take advantage of the programme to get more engineers from India to work on projects back home. At the same time, it is expected to hurt outsourcing companies majors here, such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro, which traditionally have used the H-1B visa programme to send engineers to work on projects at customer locations in America.
The US has not changed the quota of 85,000 H-1B visas issued annually, which includes 20,000 visas for holders of a Master’s degree.
Nasscom says it has no problem with measures aimed at protecting Ameri-can workers. (Agencies)


India In Touch With US And Australia, Making 'Full Assessment' Of The Visa Issue


NEW DELHI, Apr 19: Amid concerns over the US' changed H1B visa programme, India said on Wednesday it was in touch with the Trump administration and making "full assessment" of its impact on Indian professionals.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Gopal Baglay said India was also in touch with the Australian government regarding the changes in that country's work visa programme. "The government is in touch with the governments of the United States and Australia on these matters and is also making full assessment of impact of these recent changes, in consultation with all stakeholders," he said. Baglay also downplayed criticism of the government's foreign policy vis-a-vis job creation, saying the government has facilitated expansion of workforce through its flagship programmes such as 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' as also by delivering large technological partnerships and enhanced Foreign Direct Investment. "Insofar as H1-B visas are concerned, the cap has remained at 65,000 since December 2004 when the H1-B Visa Reform Act of 2004 was enacted by the US Congress," he said.
Referring to Australia replacing its popular 457 work visa programme with another programme, he said senior Australian officials have conveyed to India that "the impact of the changes will be negligible on Indian workers, most of whom fall in high skill category." The MEA spokesperson recalled that the government had agreed with the government of France last year to allow Indian students at Masters level and above to extend their stay in that country for two years. In a blow to Indian IT industry and professionals, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its "abuse" and ensure that the visas are given to the "most- skilled or highest paid" petitioners. (Agencies)


'States can borrow directly from foreign agencies for infra projects'


New Delhi, Apr 19: The government on Wednesday allowed state entities to borrow directly from bilateral overseas lending agencies like JICA to fund infrastructure projects.
The decision would directly benefit important projects such as Mumbai trans-harbour link (MTHL), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here.
The decision was taken by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government "has approved the policy guidelines to allow financially sound state government entities to borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for implementation of vital infrastructure projects," an official statement said.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a state government entity, has also been allowed to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for implementation of MTHL project. (PTI)


Vijay Mallya could fight extradition on political grounds


London, Apr 19: Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, is likely to challenge his extradition to India from the UK on the grounds that the charges against him are politically motivated, a legal expert said today. The 61-year-old liquor baron, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Britain since last year, was arrested by Scotland Yard yesterday on fraud allegations, triggering an official extradition process in the British courts.
Mallya was released on conditional bail a few hours later after providing a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds and assuring the court of abiding by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, such as the surrender of his passport and a ban on him possessing any travel documents.
The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will now argue the case on behalf of the Indian authorities. “The Crown Prosecution Service, acting on behalf of the Indian authorities, will need to demonstrate a prima facie case ie. produce some evidence to show that the criminal charges against Mallya, for which his extradition is sought, are justified,” said Javinder Nakhwal, partner at Peters and Peters Solicitors LLP and member of the UK’s Extradition Lawyers Association.
“There are a number of grounds on which it is possible to contest extradition, some of which might not be relevant to Mallya’s case. Mallya may seek to challenge extradition on the basis that the request for his extradition is politically motivated, and that any extradition would constitute a breach of certain human rights,” she explained.
The precise grounds on which Mallya contests his extradition remains to be seen. His legal team will seek to support their arguments with factual and/or expert evidence and can claim he won’t get a fair trial in India and can also raise the condition of Indian prisons as a factor behind the extradition request being declined. (PTI)




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