Pedestrians cross Howrah Bridge in Kolkata (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On May 7: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.

1. Ruias Try To Block Mittal, Again

Essar Steel Asia Holdings Ltd., a promoter of Essar Steel Ltd., has approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal opposing a bid by ArcelorMittal to purchase the beleaguered steelmaker.

  • ArcelorMittal and its promoter Lakshmi Mittal “conspired to suppress vital facts” and mislead the committee of creditors for Essar Steel, Essar Steel Asia said in a statement.
  • Mittal has had business dealings with his brothers Pramod and Vinod Mittal even as of September 2018, something that he hid from the committee of creditors, the statement said.
  • In a complaint to the appellate tribunal, Essar Steel promoters cited a sworn statement by ArcelorMittal that said Mittal has not had business dealings with his brothers for the last 20 years.

Here’s what Essar Steel is arguing in an attempt to nullify ArcelorMittal’s bid.

2. Modi’s Flagship Scheme Nears A Milestone

Deposits in ‘Jan Dhan’ accounts, intended as a first step in reducing financial exclusion across India’s population, have inched close to the Rs 1 lakh crore mark, shows data available on the website of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

  • Jan Dhan accounts — a version of no-frill accounts and the basic savings accounts — were launched in August 2014 and saw a big jump in deposits following demonetisation.
  • While it was feared that these funds would flow out, increased use of direct benefit transfers for subsidy payments have helped keep deposits high.
  • As on May 3, deposits in Jan Dhan accounts stood at Rs 98,874.5 crore, spread across 35.54 crore beneficiaries.
  • Deposits in such accounts have risen by 22 percent over the previous year.

Private banks, however, seem absent from the scene.

3. Nifty Slips, U.S. Stocks Decline

Indian equity benchmarks ended at over a month low, dragged down by losses in Tata Motors Ltd. and oil retailers.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.84 percent lower at 38,277.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 ended at 11,497, down 0.87 percent.
  • The broader market index represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index ended 0.86 percent lower.
  • Ten out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

U.S. stocks fell for a second day as investors remained on edge over President Donald Trump’s threat to increase tariffs on billions of dollars of imports from China.

  • The S&P 500 Index retreated amid speculation that the imposition of fresh levies would upend the global economy.
  • China’s top trade negotiator still intends to visit Washington later this week as Trump ratchets up pressure to clinch a deal that many market participants had expected was all but done.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index touched a five-week low.
  • The dollar gained and Treasury yields were mostly steady.

Get your daily fix of global markets here.

4. Vedanta’s Profit Dips

Vedanta Ltd.’s profit for the March-ended quarter fell but beat estimates as the company continues to struggle with a shut copper smelter plant and lower zinc volumes.

  • Net profit fell 46 percent year-on-year to Rs 2,615 crore.
  • Revenue declined 15 percent to Rs 23,468 crore.
  • Zinc volumes were lower owing to unsafe underground conditions at Rampura Agucha.
  • The company’s Skorpion refinery was shut for 15 days owing to a strike, further affecting the volumes of the metal.

Its other income rose sharply due to mark-to-market gains from Cairn India's investment.

5. What’s Behind Eveready’s Slump?

The market value of Eveready Industries (India) Ltd. plunged by two-thirds in 15 months as India’s largest maker of dry and flashlight batteries struggled to fend off competition from cheaper imports and its debt rose.

  • While the company generates almost nothing in cash, its plan to sell land in Chennai to repay debt is yet to fructify. That prompted India Ratings & Research Ltd. to downgrade the company’s long-term debt.
  • Shares of the battery maker have tumbled 40 percent this year and about 75 percent from the record level of January last year.
  • And even as investors are jittery, Brij Mohan Khaitan, promoter and head of the Williamson Magor Group, resigned as chairman citing old age.

The battery maker has seen its demand decline.

6. IndiGo’s Shopping List

IndiGo is in talks with Airbus SE for another large plane order in a sign Asia’s biggest budget carrier has no intention of letting up on a blistering pace of expansion.

  • The Indian airline, which adds an aircraft to its fleet every week, is in discussions to buy a longer-range version of the European planemaker’s newest narrow-body jet, according to Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta.
  • Existing orders will see IndiGo through the next two years, Dutta said in an interview with Bloomberg.

But will buying big and expanding help IndiGo overcome India’s aviation blues?

7. Car Dealers Face GST Scrutiny

The government has questioned the goods and services tax anti-evasion unit for demanding retrospective tax from automobile dealers on discounts received from manufacturers to boost sales, according to a person aware of the development.

  • The Central Board of Indirect Tax Customs considers such transactions as a discount and not a service, the person told BloombergQuint on the condition of anonymity.
  • The Mumbai team of the Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence issued show-cause notices to 40 dealers, including sellers of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and Hyundai Motor India Ltd.’s vehicles, asking them to pay Rs 83 crore as tax since July 1, 2012, the person quoted above said.

The issue has widespread implications as similar practices are prevalent among consumer goods makers.

8. Supreme Court Rejects VVPAT Review Petition

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea filed by 21 opposition leaders seeking review of its April 8 order regarding the matching of voter verifiable paper audit trail slips with electronic voting machines.

  • The initial order had directed the Election Commission to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment - a number that the opposition wants to increase.
  • "We are not inclined to modify our order," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said today.
  • The plea was filed by opposition leaders led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

Petitioners want at least a quarter of VVPAT slips to be matched with EVMs.

9. Protest Outside Supreme Court On ‘Clean Chit’

Fifty-five protesters, mostly women lawyers and activists, were detained outside the Supreme Court here while they were agitating against the procedure adopted to deal with a sexual harassment case against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

  • Gogoi on Monday got a clean chit from the apex court's in-house inquiry committee which "has found no substance" in the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a former woman employee of the Supreme Court.
  • Carrying banners—which read “No clean chit”, “Supremacy of Rule of law must be maintained”, “Be you ever so high, the law is above you”—several women lawyers and activists staged a protest outside the Supreme Court raising objection to the clean chit given to Gogoi.

There was heavy police deployment in the area and over fifty people were detained.

10. Akshaya Tritiya = Cheaper Gold

To entice consumers, jewelers in India are lining up discounts for Akshaya Tritiya.

  • Retailers such as Malabar Gold & Diamonds are offering as much as 50 percent off on jewelry-making charges, while Tata Group’s Titan Co. is giving a discount of up to 25 percent.
  • The charges vary from store to store and city to city, and can contribute as much as 10 percent to the total cost of an ornament.
  • Hindus buy valuables including gold and silver on Akshaya Tritiya, which falls on Tuesday this year, in the belief that it will bring luck and prosperity.
  • That faith coupled with an about 7 percent drop in prices from a more than five-year high in February is underpinning demand.

Gold imports too surged just before the second-biggest gold-buying day in the Hindu calendar.