Sareshwala, an avid Modi supporter from Ahmedabad, was banned by SEBI from markets for seven years
The Ministry of Human Resource Development has appointed Zafar Sareshwala, chief executive and managing director of Ahmedabad-based Parsoli Corp Ltd, as new Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, a Central University established in 1998 to promote and develop the Urdu language. Sareshwala succeeds Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, the former Member of Planning Commission. There are two aspects of Sareshwala, one is his closeness with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and second, his tainted innings in the stock market.
Last February, Sareshwala organised the Ummat Business Conclave 2014 to showcase the corporate culture of Muslim business community and help them network with other business communities. Of course, Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat was the chief guest for the Conclave. Today, according to media reports, Sareshwala is one of the closest advisors of Modi for the Muslim community.
Interestingly, in 2002 when the Gujarat riots took place, Sareshwala was a banker living in UK and had organized anti-Modi rallies there. However, a meeting with Modi in 2003 at St James Court in London changed his political ideology and Sareshwala became a staunch supporter of the (then) Gujarat chief minister. Nevertheless, some conservatives from the Muslim community still accuse Sareshwala of being a ‘back stabber’ and ‘sheer opportunist’ for siding with Modi.
Sareshwala, meanwhile had quite a brush with the stock market regulator. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in July 2013 cancelled broker registration of Parsoli Corporation for violations of its regulations. In 2010, Parsoli and its whole time directors Zafar Yunus Sareshwala and Uves Yunus Sareshwala were barred from the capital market by SEBI for seven years, for alleged fraudulent trading activities.
However, the order cancelling its registration came on a separate probe that looked into alleged violations of broker norms by Parsoli.
"If the applicant is allowed to continue in the market, even after it has been repeatedly found guilty of violating securities laws on more than one occasion, it will seriously prejudice the interest of investors and the safety and integrity of the securities market," Prashant Saran, whole time member of SEBI had said in the order.
In 2010, SEBI had passed order against Parsoli and its directors after finding prima facie that the company's promoters had transferred shares to themselves in a fraudulent manner from shareholders.
Sareshwala’s Parsoli is touted to have introduced Islamic banking in India. However, it was not an easy ride for Zafar Sareshwala and his entire family, who had been living in Gujarat since over 250 years.
According to a 2006 report from Hindustan Times, for decades, Zafar Sareshwala’s affluent Gujarati Muslim family had distributed lakhs of rupees to the poor in Islam-mandated zaqat donations. “Sareshwala — whose company Parsoli has pioneered Islamic banking in India — lost Rs3.3 crore in the 2002 riots when its employees fled the ambushed building that was catching fire. They left computer terminals on, without being able to square off their positions on the stock market. It was the deadliest blow to the family that had lived for some 250 years in Ahmedabad, and had suffered severe damage in the riots of 1969, 1985 and 1992,” the reports said.
According to the report, family and friends suggested that the family should migrate. Sareshwala had to choose between his British resident visa and the stock exchange membership. “It was easy to leave. However, I decided to stay and revive my business. Others just laughed at us,” he told the newspaper.
Sareshwala then sold his century-old industrial valve-producing factory and revived his business. So much so that earlier in October 2009, Sareshwala, who also owns Parsoli Motors, a dealership for BMW in Ahmedabad, gifted a X6 Activity Coupe (Xdrive 30d), worth Rs79 lakh to Salman Khan.