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Focus on India — Explosion at Tata Steel’s Indian coking plant; Xiaomi accuses the Indian agency of threats of physical violence

MUMBAI: India’s Tata Steel said three contract workers were injured in an explosion at one of its coke oven units in the eastern state of Jharkhand on Saturday.

The unit was not operational and was in the process of being dismantled, Tata, India’s biggest steelmaker by revenue, said in a statement, adding that production had not been affected.

Tata did not say what caused the explosion, but some local media reported that it happened in a gas pipeline at a battery site and caused a massive fire.

“An investigation to assess the cause is ongoing,” Tata said.

Xiaomi accuses the Indian agency of threats of physical violence

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp has alleged its top executives were threatened with “physical violence” and coercion during questioning by India’s financial crime agency, according to a court filing seen by Reuters.

Law Enforcement Branch officials have warned the company’s former Indian chief executive, Manu Kumar Jain, current chief financial officer Sameer BS Rao, and their families of “disastrous consequences” if they do not submit not the statements desired by the agency, Xiaomi’s filing dated May 4. declared.

After the Reuters article was published, the Law Enforcement Branch issued a statement claiming that Xiaomi’s allegations were “false and baseless” and that company executives had “voluntarily filed in the ‘most conducive environment’.

Xiaomi has been under investigation since February and last week the Indian agency seized $725 million from the company’s Indian bank accounts, claiming it was sending illegal remittances overseas.” under cover of royalty payments”.

Xiaomi denied any wrongdoing, saying its royalty payments were legitimate.

Last week, a judge heard from Xiaomi’s lawyers and suspended the Indian agency’s decision to freeze bank assets. The next hearing is scheduled for May 12.

The company alleges intimidation when executives appeared for questioning on multiple occasions in April.

Jain and Rao were on some occasions “threatened (…) with dire consequences, including arrest, damage to career prospects, criminal liability and physical violence if they failed to make statements in accordance with dictates from the agency, according to the South Karnataka State High Court filing.

Leaders “were able to withstand the pressure for a while, (but) they eventually caved under such extreme and hostile abuse and pressure and unwittingly made statements,” he added.

In its statement to the media, the Law Enforcement Branch said it was a “professional agency with a strong work ethic and there was no coercion or harassment at any time. threat against company executives.

Generali becomes majority shareholder of an Indian non-life joint venture

Leading Italian insurer Generali said on Friday it had completed the acquisition of a 25% stake in its Indian non-life insurance joint venture, raising its stake to 74% after receiving regulatory and competitive approvals.

When it announced the deal in January, Generali said it had agreed to pay 145 million euros ($153 million) to Future Group, its partner in Future Generali India Insurance, for the stake.

The deal, which is part of Generali’s strategy to position itself in fast-growing markets, follows a 2021 decision by the Indian government to allow foreign companies to own up to 74% of a local insurance company, up from 49% previously.

In March, Generali also reached an agreement to become the majority shareholder of its Indian life insurance joint venture.

Generali is the first international insurer to take a majority stake in its Indian life and non-life insurance joint ventures since the new foreign ownership cap came into effect, it said in a statement.

(Contributed by Reuters)

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