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Five top-level changes likely at SEBI by August

The impending changes in high-level decision making positions at SEBI are being eagerly awaited in the backdrop of a number of new regulations proposed by SEBI in the areas being handled by the incumbents

New Delhi: A major makeover may be in the offing at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), with as many as five new faces expected to join in the market regulator's leadership positions over the next few months, reports PTI.

The changes-in the positions of two whole-time members and three executive directors-would follow the appointment of a new SEBI chairman, UK Sinha, in February.

The nine-member SEBI board comprises a chairman, three whole-time members, two independent members and three nominee directors, including one each from the Reserve Bank of India, finance ministry and ministry of corporate affairs.

The three-year terms of two whole-time directors, MS Sahoo and KM Abraham, are ending in July and the government has already begun the process of finding their replacements.

The finance ministry had in February invited applications till 30th March for the two positions, but has now extended the deadline till 18th April.

Before beginning the search process, the finance ministry had asked former SEBI chairman CB Bhave, and later his successor too, about whether the two incumbents should be granted extension.

Besides the chairman, another change recently occurred in the SEBI board as corporate affairs secretary DK Mittal replaced his predecessor R Badyopadhyay as the nominee of his ministry.

Even as the search continues for two whole-time members, the tenure is also ending for three executive directors, namely KN Vaidyanathan, JN Gupta and J Ranganayakulu.

These three persons have some key portfolios under their charge. While Mr Vaidyanathan is in charge of mutual funds, JN Gupta takes care of secondary markets and Mr Ranganayakulu heads the legal affairs and enforcement departments.

While the appointment of new whole-time members would be done by the finance ministry, SEBI conducts the search process for executive directors and then suggests the prospective names to the union government.

The two-year term of both Mr Vaidyanathan and Mr Gupta would end in July, while Mr Ranganayakulu's three-year tenure ends in August this year.

The impending changes in high-level decision making positions at SEBI are being eagerly awaited in the backdrop of a number of new regulations proposed by SEBI in the areas being handled by the incumbents, a senior official said.

Some of the major actions taken by SEBI in recent months concerned mutual fund space, while final rules are awaited on issues like new takeover norms and governance and ownership structure of stock exchanges.

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Favourites allotted 2G spectrum: CBI

The CBI probe revealed that Mr Chandolia put pressure on officials to allocate spectrum licence to Swan Telecom in preference to Tata Teleservices which, as per the DoT policy, was the preferred firm for allocation of spectrum in Delhi

New Delhi: The allegation that second generation (2G) spectrum was allocated to a few favourites of former telecom minister A Raja and his associates was clear from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe which showed that Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa obliged one of them by taking his property on rent at an exorbitant rate, the CBI has said.

The agency said Mr Raja's personal secretary RK Chandolia, an accused in the case, had rented a south Delhi house to one of the companies of Balwa at a monthly rent of Rs63,000.

"Investigation has also disclosed that accused RK Chandolia rented his residential property C-6/39, second floor, Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi to Associated Hotels Pvt Ltd (a sister concern of D B Realty) on 3 March 2009 on a monthly rent of Rs63,000," the charge-sheet in the case filed in a special court said on Sunday.

In order to favour Mr Balwa, Mr Chandolia had threatened several senior telecom ministry officials to ensure grant of spectrum to Swan Telecom which was ineligible for it, the CBI said.

The CBI probe revealed that Mr Chandolia put pressure on officials to allocate spectrum licence to Swan Telecom in preference to Tata Teleservices which, as per the Depart of Telecommunications (DoT) policy, was the preferred firm for allocation of spectrum in Delhi.

The CBI, which filed its first charge-sheet before a special court on Saturday, alleged former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Mr Raja's personal secretary RK Chandolia and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and Sanjay Chandra, MD of Unitech Wireless, entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.

The charge-sheet, running into about 80,000 pages and brought in seven steel trunks, was filed before CBI judge OP Saini in a special court constituted exclusively to try the case that is being monitored by the Supreme Court.

Others named in the charge-sheet include Vinod Goenka, a director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, managing director of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, group managing director and two senior vice presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance Telecom Company.

The investigating agency will file the supplementary charge-sheet by 25th April and is likely to complete its probe by 31st May in the case that has dented the UPA government's image in less than two years of its return to power.

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