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Vistara and Air India airlines to merge by March 2024

The latest notification states that SIA is also investing Rs 20,585 million in Air India as part of the transaction.

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Vistara and Air India airlines to merge

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have agreed to merge Air India and Vistara airlines by March 2024. The latest notification states that SIA is also investing Rs 20,585 million in Air India as part of the transaction, giving SIA a 25.1 percent stake in the Air India group.

Currently, Tata Group holds 51 percent of the shares in Vistara, and Singapore Airlines has the remaining 49 percent. According to the release, SIA and Tata have also agreed to take part in future capital investments that may be necessary to finance the expansion and operations of the larger Air India in the fiscal years 2022–2023 and 2023–2024.

Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran said that the merger of Vistara and Air India is an important milestone in their journey to make Air India a truly world-class airline. He said they are transforming Air India, with the aim of providing a great customer experience, every time, for every customer.

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He further said that as part of the transformation, Air India is focusing on growing both its network and fleet, revamping its customer proposition, and enhancing safety, reliability, and on-time performance. He stated that both Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines are excited about the opportunity of creating a strong Air India which would offer both full-service and low-cost services across domestic and international routes. He also thanked Singapore Airlines for their continued partnership.

SAI chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said the merger provides an opportunity to deepen the company’s relationship with Tata and participate directly in an exciting new growth phase in India’s aviation market.

SAI chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said Tata Sons is one of the most established and respected names in India. SIA’s collaboration to set up Vistara in 2013 resulted in a market-leading full-service carrier, which has won many global accolades in a short time. He said with this merger, SIA has an opportunity to deepen its relationship with Tata and participate directly in an exciting new growth phase in India’s aviation market. He further said that they will work together to support Air India’s transformation programme, unlock its significant potential, and restore it to its position as a leading airline on the global stage.

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Adani Group promoters to prepay loans worth $1,114 million for releasing pre-pledged shares

The Adani Group, whose shares were routed over the past week in the aftermath of a scathing report by the US-based short seller Hindenburg Research, announced on Monday that its promoters will pre-pay $1,114 million for the release of pledged shares of the conglomerate’s firms ahead of the maturity in September 2024.

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Adani Group

The Adani Group, whose shares were routed over the past week in the aftermath of a scathing report by the US-based short seller Hindenburg Research, announced on Monday that its promoters will pre-pay $1,114 million for the release of pledged shares of the conglomerate’s firms ahead of the maturity in September 2024.

In a statement, Adani Group revealed that the shares belong to Adani Ports & Special Economic Zones, Adani Green Energy and Adani Transmission, adding that this was in continuation of promoters’ assurance to pre-pay all share-backed financing.

The company announced that in continuation of promoters’ commitment to reduce the overall promoter leverage backed by Adani listed companies shares, the promoters have posted the amounts to pre-pay USD 1,114 million ahead of its maturity of September 2024.

The pre-payment will release 168.27 million shares of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zones, 27.56 million shares of Adani Green and also 11.77 million shares of Adani Transmission. The released shares represent 12 percent, 3 percent and 1.4 percent of the promoter’s holding, respectively.

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Adani Group has endured over $120 billion in market losses- nearly half of the conglomerate’s estimated value—since the damning report released by US short-seller Hindenburg Research last month.

Hindenburg Research published a report last month, accusing the Adani Group of indulging in improper use of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation while also raising concerns about high debt and the valuations of seven listed Adani companies.

The group has denied the allegations, saying the short-seller’s narrative of stock manipulation has “no basis” and stems from an ignorance of Indian law, adding that it has always made the necessary regulatory disclosures.

On February 2, Thursday, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) put Adani Ports, Adani Enterprises, and Ambuja Cements under additional surveillance measure (ASM) framework, thus requiring 100 precent margin to trade in their shares.

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From Harshad Mehta to Vijay Mallya, a look at India’s biggest scammers

Amid the ongoing Adani row, let’s take a look at India’s biggest scams in history.

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Vijay Mallya

Adani Group lost more than Rs 5,29,865 crore in the last week after investors backed out as the US-based Hindenburg Research released their investigative report and accused Gautam Adani of fraud and stock manipulation.

Earlier, there have been multiple financial scams that shook the nation. Amid the ongoing Adani row, let’s take a look at India’s biggest scams in history.

Harshad Mehta

Harshad Mehta, a registered and well-known broker carried out India’s biggest scam in the stock market in 1992. Mehta was accused of manipulating the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) with his partners by taking advantage of the loopholes in the banking system, reports said.

He created a cycle of fraud with banks including the State Bank of India and the National Housing Bank.

Reports also say Mehta conspired with bank employees and got fake bank receipts issued and used those bank receipts to get other banks to lend him money. The amount was further put into the stock market to spike share prices by up to 4,400 per cent and Mehta then sold these shares at a staggering profit. After this, the principal amount was returned to the banks.

Referred to as the Big Bull of Dalal Street, Mehta defrauded the banks of almost Rs 4,000 crore. On February 28, 1992, the tax department carried out a raid and seized several documents and share certificates. On June 4, 1992, the Central Bureau of Investigation conducted a search on the Mehtas.

Reports say the tax return filed by Harshad Mehta for the assessment year 1992-93 was rejected and he was jailed in 1992.

Further, Mehta was convicted by both the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court and was charged with 74 criminal offences. His legal battles continued till 2001 when he died due to a cardiac arrest in jail at 47.

B Ramalinga Raju

The scam carried out by B Ramalinga Raju is popular as Satyam Scam 2009. The fraud involved corporate governance and fraudulent auditing practices allegedly colluding with the auditors and CAs. Raju’s company Satyam Computer Services Ltd. was accused of misrepresenting its accounts to its stock exchanges, board, regulators, investors, and all other stakeholders.

After the scam came to light, the company admitted that they misrepresented, manipulated and falsified their accounts of over Rs 14,000 crore. Reports say Raju raised the cash to purchase several thousands of acres of land across Andhra Pradesh for a realty marker.

Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi along with his uncle Mehul Choksi pulled out one of the biggest bank frauds in India. The scam took place through Punjab National Bank Brady House Brand and also involved two senior PNB officials with Modi and Choksi.

In 2018, the PNB registered a case with CBI and accused Nirav Modi and his companies of obtaining Letters of Undertaking from the PNB without paying up the margin amount against loans. Additionally, the bank also submitted a fraud report to the Reserve Bank of India.

The same year Nirav Modi left India to evade the law days before a case was filed against him and others involved in the case.

Vijay Mallya

In 2016, the Kingfisher owner fled the country after he was accused of fraud and money laundering. Reports say Mallya owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to multiple banks he took loans from for his personal agenda and to save his Kingfisher airlines.

He took refuge in the United Kingdom and was also declared a fugitive economic offender at the request of the Enforcement Directorate under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

Mallya left the country on March 2, 2016, after being warned of an arrest. However, he claimed that his trip to London was a part of his business pattern and lifestyle. A warrant was petitioned under Mallya for the crimes under the Money Laundering Prevention Act, of 2022. Following this, he was arrested in London by the Metropolitan Police on an international warrant.

However, he was granted bail worth $650,005,40,87,856 and was asked to hand over his documents, reports said.

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Adani crash won’t affect investor confidence, Indian markets well regulated: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday assured that India’s markets were “well regulated” and she does not expect the rout Adani Group’s shares to adversely affect confidence of potential investors.

Adani Group has endured over $120 billion in market losses- nearly half of the conglomerate’s estimated value—since the damning report released by US short-seller Hindenburg Research last week.

Sitharaman told the media that India remained a “very well-regulated financial market” and “an absolutely well governed” nation. She said the public sector financial institutions had released detailed statements showing they had limited exposure to Adani Group and would not be significantly affected by its downward spiral.

Sitharaman dismissed the narrative that Adani Group’s plunging shares would have a negative effect on Indian markets in general and pointed out that one instance, however much talked about across the globe, is not an indication of how well Indian financial markets are governed.

She maintained that “investor confidence which existed before shall continue even now.”

Hindenburg Research published a report last week, accusing the Adani Group of indulging in improper use of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation while also raising concerns about high debt and the valuations of seven listed Adani companies.

The group has denied the allegations, saying the short-seller’s narrative of stock manipulation has “no basis” and stems from an ignorance of Indian law, adding that it has always made the necessary regulatory disclosures.

Hindenburg Research hit back at the Adani Group, day after the business house dubbed the New York-based firm’s report as “calculated attack on India.”

In a response titled “Fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism or a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised,” Hindenburg Research accused the Adani Group of holding back India’s progress by draping itself in the Indian flag while systematically looting the nation.

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