Friday, April 4, 2014

Corruption and cricket: Thank god for the Supreme Court! | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Agency: DNA : Sudhir Chaudhary

We have been crazy about cricket for years. I remember well how, as children, we used to wake up at 4.00 am many times to watch a cricket match. The entire day used to be planned as per the schedule of the match, and the week according to the whole series. Many important chores and jobs were put on hold, and any victory of the Indian team or an Indian player’s century was celebrated like a festival.

When I began my career in journalism, I got to meet many cricketers on an individual level. Meetings with cricket promoters and administrators left me disappointed. I am not talking about all players, but I was disheartened after meeting some. It felt as if most of these cricketers were playing less out of a spirit of the game and more for the money, and that the sport had been reduced to a kind of business. 

This was the phase where I and others like me started began becoming disillusioned with cricket. This feeling became firmer after interacting with people, especially those related to the sport, from various parts of India over time. 

There was a feeling that what was happening on the cricket ground was not real. Watching many of the matches increased these suspicions. 


It often felt like something was definitely wrong with the game/sport, and if the chance arose, we would definitely do something about it. We did get the chance, and we exposed this on our channel, Zee News. We conducted a sting operation on Vindu Dara Singh and Ex-IPS officer Sampat Kumar. The reason behind this was the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee report. 

Justice Mudgal proved that if even one person decides to take a stand and expose the truth, he/she doesn’t need an army to back them. One single person with good intentions and commitment can do great things.

When we conducted this sting operation, we were opposed by several corners. We were told not to do the sting operation, and not to broadcast it. Even before the broadcast, Sampat Kumar was suspended. Post the sting operation, when we sought reactions from many famous cricketers and officials, they threatened to file a defamation case against us. 

At that point, we had to decide whether to broadcast the sting operation or not. We decided that we’d show it. We were charged with defamation. Indian cricket captain and skipper of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Mahendra Singh Dhoni lodged a Rs 100-crore case against us. 

The entire system stood against us. There were only a handful who wanted to help us but they were not in the condition to come out in the open. Those who could have helped, remained completely silent. I would, however, like to mention and praise Aditya Verma, the secretary of the Bihar Cricket Association, who always said this battle had to be fought. 

During the course of this fight, we once again realised the importance of the Supreme Court. 

My respect for Supreme Court has gone even higher on seeing its determination and initiative to clean the mess that is the Indian cricketing industry. It is a lesson to those in power and the big names associated with the game, who despite knowing the truth, chose to ignore it. Rajiv Shukla, for instance, has not uttered a word. Niether has Arun Jaitely, another famous name connected to cricket (the Delhi Cricket Association), and a lawyer as well. Why have neither of them ever said anything about it?

I am especially disappointed with two people on this issue: Narendra Modi and Dhoni. 

Narendra Modi is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and also sits in the BCCI meetings as the president of the Gujrat Cricket Association. He often speaks against corruption and dynasty politics, but why has he never spoke of cleaning the corruption in cricket? Had he spoken of the corruption of cricket, he would have gained more respect. 

Dhoni is playing three different roles, of Indian skipper, captain of the CSK, and vice president of India Cements. But his last role, the managerial one, seems to be taking over the other two, as Harish Salve said in the Supreme Court. Salve said Dhoni lied. I consider Dhoni the second biggest player of Indian cricket, but he failed to save his iconic image. I don’t think he had any obligation to lie. He was not even struggling to make a place on the Indian team. He is the captain of the team and a very strong one. Despite this, how or why did a person like him become trapped by N Srinivasan? How did he let this happen?

Nothing is going to change just because Sriniwasan has left. He is not the only one responsible for whatever has happened or has been happening to Indian cricket. There are others too. Today, in every election rally and campaign, a loud voice is raised against corruption and dynastic politics. But what about cricket? After all, cricket in India is like also a religion.

It’s sad that despite following different ideologies, everyone unites in the air-conditioned cabin of the BCCI. The recent action by the Supreme Court is a big opportunity for us to clean the system. If we fail to utilize this chance, then only god knows where cricket in India will go!

Corruption and cricket: Thank god for the Supreme Court! | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis:

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Don't be lured by low premium, check company's settlement record too - The Economic Times

Insurance regulator IRDA's annual reports for 2012-13 reveal that of the total 23 private life insurers, only five have a claim-settlement ratio of over 90% (in terms of number of policies), despite many of them having completed 10 years of operations. The figure tells you that many insurers are tight-fisted when it comes to passing on the benefits to nominees.

According to financial advisors, it's time insurance buyers, especially those considering pure protection-term covers, take their eyes off the claims of lowest premium and highest benefits, and pay a more attention to the claim settlement record of the insurance company.
"Claims settlement ratio, along with related data, is the only objective yardstick for the consumer to determine which insurance company is preferable and more reliable," says consumer activist Jehangir Gai.

IRDA's data reveals LIC had the best claim settlement ratio of 97.73% among life insurers in the country. Private life insurers' average settlement record was at 88.65%. Of the 23 private life insurers, only five — ICICI Prudential Life, SBI Life, HDFC Life, Max Life and Kotak Life — have a claim settlement record of over 90%. Shriram Life, Aegon Religare, Edelweiss Tokio and DLF Pramerica Life are at the bottom of the list.


Insurers say wrong information provided by policyholders in the proposal form or non-disclosure of facts are the key reasons for rejection of claims. Often, they claim, this is because many policyholders leave the paperwork to agents. So, apart from completing the form yourself when you have zeroed in on an insurance product, next time ask your insurance advisor for the claim settlement record of the insurer.

Even before asking him for details, you can visit the website of the insurance regulator and go through the industry data to ensure the advisor doesn't take you for a ride. So, exercise caution and buy a policy from a company that has a claims settlement ratio of above 95%. However, please note the distinction: new companies typically tend to have a high claim-rejection ratio.

As older companies see more of non-early claims, their overall rejection ratio seems lower. Insurers are not allowed to reject claims citing non-disclosure of facts, if the policy has been in force for more than two years. For a newer company, which is bound to have more early claims, the overall repudiation ratio seems higher as most claims are likely to be early claims, requiring investigation. However, do not stop at just examining the claim-settlement record. Claim pending ratio would help you in ascertaining the time taken by insurer to settle claims.

According to the IRDA annual report, private insurers' claim-pending ratio stood at 7.68% (pending for 3-6 months). LIC's ratio was higher at 15.47%. A high claim pending ratio usually points to the company's inefficiency in processing claims, particularly, if the proportion of claims pending for more than six months is higher. As per guidelines, all claims should be decided within six months. There should not be too many claims pending for more than three months.

Turnaround time for claim settlement is crucial as well. You will get an indication of the time taken by a company to settle claims. While choosing an insurer, check whether a huge proportion of claims has been settled after a delay of more than 180 days.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Microsoft establishes IPR Chair at Gujarat National Law University

For the first time, Microsoft India has established a dedicated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Chair at the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU).

The Microsoft Chair will consist of one full-time Professor, a research associate and an administrative secretariat along with an administrative assistant. The focus will be on capacity creation, development of policy research and thought leadership in IPR laws in India. Over the next five years, Microsoft and GNLU will develop suitable academic research projects; provide a framework for analyzing the impact of IPR Law and policy on development and growth of the Indian economy and disseminate knowledge and information on IPR Law and Policy through outreach programs in India. In the long run, this initiative also aims to help bridge the gap between university and industry on issues related to Intellectual Property Rights.

Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft in his message said, “As India continues its development into a knowledge economy, recognition of and respect for Intellectual Property law is critical. We are excited to set up a Chair for Intellectual Property at Gujarat National Law University and believe that it will help drive a significant amount of research in this area. Our ultimate aim with this initiative is to foster continuous research, academic collaboration and capacity building in Intellectual Property laws and policies.”

The Chair has been officially launched on February 26, 2014, at Gujarat National Law University by Jim Banowsky, managing director, International Patents. Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft at Redmond, Washington along with Bimal Patel, Director, Gujarat National Law University.  Vipin Aggarwal, Senior Attorney and Director IP, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Corporation (India) was also present at the occasion. The focus of this initiative will be on undertaking policy-relevant cutting edge research. Organizing training workshops to deliberate on research and research outcomes, augmenting the GNLU library with IT-IPR related books, latest research reports, and databases and participating in national and international workshops/seminars by members of the Microsoft Chair.

Bimal Patel, Director, Gujarat National Law University said: “We view this as an important and impactful initiative that will enable GNLU to promote teaching and research in Intellectual Property Rights. The availability of this funding will augment academic partnerships with the institutions of Governance, judiciary, economy and civil society, thereby enabling us to carry out quality applied legal and interdisciplinary research in various areas. We expect that the creation of the Chair will help us become more competitive and attract the right talent for our academic projects.” he added.

India needs an Intellectual Property Rights friendly culture

Microsoft (India) has established the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) chair at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) about which the software giant had made an announcement recently. In an effort to raise awareness about IPR laws in India, Microsoft and GNLU will collaborate on research in the field and organize seminars on IPR for the next five years.

"India has changed several IP rules in the last 10 years. They are now among the most forward-looking in the world. But we need to create a culture that will adopt these laws," said Vipin Aggarwal, senior attorney and director, IP, legal and corporate affairs, Microsoft India. The newly established department will have one full-time professor, a research associate and an administrative secretariat.

Bimal Patel, director, GNLU, said, "The availability of funding from Microsoft will augment academic partnerships with institutions of governance, judiciary and the economy. It will help us become more competitive and attract the right talent for our academic projects."


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gujarat National Law University to hold seminar on global arbitration - TOI news

In a unique endeavour, the Gujarat National Law University ( GNLU) is organizing a two-day seminar on international arbitration law starting from March 28. 

Being organized in collaboration with the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC), Paris; the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA); Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), Singapore; and Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co (AMSS), the seminar has 'Changing Face of Arbitration in India' as the central theme. 

Legal practitioners and academicians will come together in a lecture series and throw light on the different facets of international arbitration law namely international commercial, maritime and investment treaty arbitration. Some of the biggest names in the field of arbitration, including former Chief Justice of India A M Ahmadi, additional solicitor general of India Gourab Banerjee, deputy counsel at ICC Paris Abhinav Bhushan and Tejas Karia of AMSS will be addressing the seminar. 

The first panel discussion will see official representatives from the ICC, LCIA and SIAC discuss the benefits of institutional arbitration over ad-hoc arbitration and best practices in the context of institutional arbitration. In the second panel discussion, scholars, practitioners, experts, users and arbitration enthusiasts will deliberate on how to make India a better seat of arbitration.

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