Bhave, Abraham officers of terrific integrity, says Montek

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Coming in defence of former SEBI chief C B Bhave and its former member K M Abraham, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today said that they are officers of "terrific integrity" and CBI has not charged them with anything.

"Mr Bhave and also Mr Abraham (have good) reputation. They are officers of terrific integrity. At the same time...Remember they (CBI) are not charging them with anything. They are just enquiring," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had instituted a preliminary enquiry against Bhave, the then SEBI member Abraham, Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies India Limited (FTIL) and MCX and others in a case related to grant of licence to MCX Stock Exchange in 2008.

The PE was registered against Abraham and Bhave last week on issues of alleged irregularities in granting sanction to the MCX-SX by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2008 and renewing the recognition in 2009 and 2010.

Asked whether the onus is on Bhave and other accused to prove that they are not guilty, Ahluwalia replied, "No. That is not true. It is only an enquiry. Onus is on the enquiring agency (CBI) to decide. Do they have a case? They are not being charged of anything yet."

India needs a system where enquiries are completed quickly, he said, adding people facing such enquiries are unhappy because it takes too long.

"In this particular case ... My understanding is that no permission of government is needed to start such an enquiry. The officials concerned are retired. Deepak Parekh is saying that is not a good system...May be we need to look at whether it is good system or not," he said, adding that public does not like an idea that government should give permission either.

On economic growth prospects for the next fiscal, he said, "...Most financial analysts, the IMF and others expect that the growth in 2014-15 will be better than what it was in 2013-14. All signs suggest that the next year (fiscal) would be better year."

The growth rate slipped to decades low of 4.5 per cent in 2012-13 and it is estimated to inch up to 4.9 per cent in the current fiscal.

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