Mumbai : Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) declared the defunct commodity subsidiaries of broking firms Anand Rathi (ARCL) and Geofin Comtrade (formerly Geojit Comtrade) (GCL) “not fit and proper” in relation to the Rs 5,600-crore National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam. Earlier, the regulator had last week taken a similar action against the commodity arm of leading equity brokers Motilal Oswal Financial Services and India Infoline.
In two separate orders, Sebi found the commodity arms of ARCL and Geofin guilty of gross violation of provisions of the erstwhile Forward Contract and Regulation Act 1972 (FCRA). After the merger of the commodity markets regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) with the Sebi in September 2015, the regulator had issued showcause notices to these brokers seeking to know why they should not be declared “not fit and proper” for their involvement in the NSEL scam.
Apart from Sebi, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police (EOW) have been investigating the NSEL case.
“The notices had violated the provisions of FCRA and made false representation of assured/risk-free return, arbitrage opportunity in the spot market by way of paired contracts, making assurances with risk-free returns on assured collateral of commodities. Also, these noticees had done client code modifications with manipulative artifice. Hence, these noticees are not fit and proper person to hold, directly or indirectly, the certificate of registration and therefore, cease to act, directly or indirectly as commodity derivative brokers,” said the Sebi orders.
The regulator ordered that with their involvement in NSEL scam, their reputation has seriously eroded. “Thus, Sebi finds the noticees not fit and proper to be granted registration to operate as the commodity derivatives broker,” the order stated.
Interestingly, some of these brokers already shut down their commodity broking firms immediately after the NSEL scam erupted in 2013 and forayed into this business again under the new company name. The new entity has been generating sizeable business in the commodity derivatives markets with the membership of leading commodity exchanges.
ARCL and GCL could not be immediately reached for their comments. Attempts to reach Anand Rathi, chairman of the Anand Rathi Group, did not elicit any response.
Markets sources fear similar actions on the remaining broking firms named by various investigating agencies for their alleged involvement in the NSEL scam.
Earlier, the erstwhile regulator FMC had declared NSEL, along with its directors and promoters not “fit and proper person”.
The stock price of Motilal Oswal Financial Services declined in early trade on Tuesday by 1.78 per cent to trade at Rs 589 apiece. Also, the share price of IIFL Holding fell by 3.44 per cent to Rs 349 apiece in early Tuesday trade. The decline in both stocks was the second day in continuation.
Sri Lanka bombings death toll rises to 359, 18 more suspects held overnight
Colombo: Police say the death toll in the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka has risen to 359 and more suspects have been arrested.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara also said Wednesday morning that 18 suspects were arrested overnight, raising the total detained to 58.
The prime minister warned that several suspects armed with explosives were still at large.
Another top government official said the suicide bombings at the churches, hotels and other sites were carried out by Islamic fundamentalists in apparent retaliation for the New Zealand mosque massacre last month.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Sri Lanka attacks and released images that purported to show the attackers. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that investigators were still determining the extent of the bombers’ foreign links.
UN says over 250 killed, over 1,200 injured in Libya battle
TRIPOLI: At least 264 people have been killed and over 1,200 wounded in weeks of fighting on the outskirts of Libya’s capital, the World Health Organisation said , as African leaders gathered in Cairo to discuss the crisis.
The agency called on Twitter for “a temporary cessation of hostilities, and for all parties to respect humanitarian law”.
Eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the capital on April 4, as his self-styled Libyan National Army pledged “to purge the west of terrorists and mercenaries”.
Forces loyal to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, launched a counter-attack at the weekend.
The fighting has since eased somewhat as both sides appeared to be preparing for the next phase of the battle.
Fighting in Tripoli’s southern suburbs has so far displaced at least 35,000 people, UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya Maria do Valle Ribeiro said on Monday.
“Displacement is continuing at an increasing rate every day,” she said, warning that the figures were a conservative estimate.
The two sides have reached a near stalemate since armed groups backing the GNA launched their counter-attack on Saturday.
An AFP team on the ground at the weekend confirmed that GNA-aligned fighters had pushed the frontline back several kilometres in the southern district of Ain-Zara, around a dozen kilometres south of the city centre.
Another frontline is a little further southwest, around the districts of al-Swani and Qasr ben-Ghachir, around 30 kilometres from Tripoli, on a key road between the capital and the old international airport.
Occasional bursts of gunfire — and heavier projectiles — have been audible, sometimes resonating in the city centre.
“It is calm on most fronts,” Mustafa al-Mejii, a spokesman for GNA forces, said.
“Orders were given to forces on the perimeter of Tripoli airport to consolidate their positions,” he said.
Haftar’s force said on its official Facebook page it had received “significant” reinforcements, particularly in the west.
Valle Ribeiro said civilians were being displaced every day, while some had been trapped by fire including “heavy artillery and… shelling in some densely populated parts of the city”.
“Any country that has leverage should be using that leverage to ensure that civilians can be protected,” she said.
African leaders were due to meet in Cairo at the behest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss the violence.
Israel to name Golan settlement after Trump
JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to name a new settlement in the occupied Golan after US President Donald Trump in appreciation of his recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty there.
Netanyahu, who has been on a trip to the region with his family for the week-long Passover holiday, said in a video message that he would present a resolution to the government calling for a new settlement named after the US president.
“All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” he said.
Trump again broke with longstanding international consensus on March 25 when he recognised Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the part of the strategic plateau it seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.
The decision came only two weeks ahead of a tightly contested Israeli election, which saw Netanyahu win a fifth term in office.
Trump has shifted US policy sharply in Israel’s favour since taking office, most notably by recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Israel annexed 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan it seized in 1981, a move never recognised by the international community.
Around 18,000 Syrians from the Druze sect — most of whom refuse to take Israeli citizenship — remain in the occupied Golan.
Some 20,000 Israeli settlers have moved there, spread over 33 settlements.
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