Citizens' Issues
Delhi Court attaches flat of City Limousine promoter Masood

The Special Court termed the purchase of the flat by Citi Limousine chief Masood as 'proceeds of crime', who was involved in money laundering by defrauding the hard earned money of gullible investors

A Special money laundering Court in New Delhi has ordered attachment of a flat worth over Rs22 lakh belonging to Sayed Mohammed Masood, chairman of Mumbai-based ‘City Limousine' that has duped thousands of investors through its money-circulation scheme.

 

The case had shot to prominence last year after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) got a first-time access to freeze Swiss bank accounts of Masood, whom the agency is probing for floating illegal ponzi (fraud investment plans) schemes by promising extraordinary returns which were not honoured.

 

The agency is probing the case under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA) alongside the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police.

 

Subsequent to pressing these laundering charges, the ED provisionally attached a flat in Pune’s Wakad area in the name of Ryewood Retreat Motels, which has Masood as its Additional Director.

 

The Adjudicating Authority, under Chairman K Ramamoorthy, for PMLA offences termed the purchase of the flat “as proceeds of crime” and that it is involved in money laundering by defrauding the hard earned money of gullible investors.

 

The probe agencies had filed a charge sheet in this case last year stating that close to 28,000 complaints from the investors were received by them in this regard and Masood’s companies had cheated investors to the tune of more than Rs500 crore.

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COMMENTS

VIJAY SHAH

3 years ago

PLEASE CORRECT SECOND LINE ONE WORD 'MASOOD'

Sensex, Nifty in no man's land: Monday closing report

Nifty has to stay above 6,280 and make higher highs, to keep the short-term rally going.

The markets opened up and moved mostly tentatively sideways throughout Monday, before a late sell-off sent it careening downwards. However, it finished in the green. Even though Nifty closed above 6,280, it would need to do so in the coming days to show some strength and keep the short-term rally going. This is more pertinent even after International Monetary Fund (IMF) sounded upbeat over the strength of US economy. However, IT sector was seen trending down despite this news. It shows that markets are nervous still. But a major directional move may only come in January next year, as elections get closer.

 

The 30-share BSE Sensex opened at 21,080 while the 50-share NSE Nifty opened at 6,267. The Sensex moved from the level of 21,207 to the level of 21,059 and closed at 21,101 (up 21 points or 0.10%) while the Nifty hit a high of 6,317 and closed at 6,284.50 (up 10.25 points or 0.16%) after hitting a low of 6,266.

 

CNX IT and CNX Media were hit the most, falling down 1.08% and 0.52% respectively. Most indices finished in the green. CNX Realty and CNX Metals finished strong, moving up 3.35% and 1.57% respectively.

 

Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 32 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Jindal Steel (5.41%); PNB (4.46%); DLF (4.17%); Hindalco (3.47%) and Grasim (2.71%). The bottom four losers were Infosys (-2.38%); Tata Power (-1.87%); HDFC (-1.48%); Lupin (-1.03%) and Asian Paints (-0.94%).

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, Raghuram Rajan, stated that despite a fall in the current account deficit India is not out of the woods yet, so to speak, and hopes to make rupee a worthy currency to invest in. He has also stated that as much as $26 billion dollars were brought in through the swap facility opened by RBI. He also said that the government response to food inflation needs to be improved by debottlenecking the supply-side. On a related note, the government has stated that it may permit oil marketing companies to hike transport fees for LPG cylinders.

 

Today, the global markets were upbeat overall on IMF renewed optimism over the US economy. Both European and Asian markets were trending up, when Christian Lagarde, IMF chief, said in a TV show on Sunday that she sees more growth and certainty in the world’s largest economy in 2014. She gave a rosier view after the US Federal Reserve decided to taper its bond buying program.
 

With the exception of Spain, most European markets were trending up. FTSE and DAX were nearly half a percent up. Similarly, Asian markets were up led by Hang Seng and Shanghai, moving up 0.48% and 0.25% respectively. Nikkei finished flat with an upwards bias.

 

At the same time, gold seems to be taking the fall amidst its worst year in years, signaling that years of upwards movement maybe finally coming to an end (in dollar terms). After the US announced tapering, it fell 2.5%. Currently, gold futures are quoting $1,201 an ounce, and are trading downwards in the futures market. Gold has lost 29% so far this year, in dollar terms.

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Regulations that don't put consumers' interest first

Why is it that the interests of consumers and consultations with consumers is never at the centre of any rules the regulators make?

If you ask a roomful of people whether the consumer should be the primary focus of financial sector regulation, it would be safe to bet that you will have nearly 100% concurrence. Every stakeholder pays verbal obeisance to the importance of the consumer of financial services. The preamble of all statutes creating independent regulators (for capital markets, insurance or provident funds) casts a duty on regulators to ‘develop’ markets and ‘protect investors’. But, as Moneylife has repeatedly pointed out, regulators and policy-makers merely dance around issues that consumers face, without ever interacting with them to frame appropriate regulation.

This is why after 25 years of modernisation, development and regulation by India’s capital market watchdog, we have only seen an exodus of retail investors from primary and secondary market as well as mutual funds. It is also the reason why we are an under-insured nation and why our pension regulator has made no headway. But, put a set of neutral people connected with the financial sector in a room and the focus immediately becomes the consumer. At an interesting panel discussion organised by CUTS International on 16th December, there was a strong consensus that ‘there is need to focus on the consumer as the core purpose of all financial sector regulation’.

What do I mean by regulators’ dance around consumer issues without addressing them? Consider how the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) deals with mis-selling of products to retail investors. First, it makes it impossible for genuine and honest advisors or brokerage firms to function by tying them up in costs, rules, red tape and permissions. Those who ignore the regulator happily fly below the radar, unless they do something so big and foolish that they are caught. And, even the honest and ethical, who occasionally stumble on meaningless rules, are hauled over the coals.

Instead, exemplary punitive action in select cases or adopting a class action approach to mis-selling techniques will get better results. Consider the Suchitra Krishnamoorthi case that we have repeatedly documented. SEBI took long enough to issue a show-cause notice to HSBC and is now hearing the matter. A stiff monetary penalty and disgorgement order will really send a strong message to banks who have perfected the art of mis-selling of third-party products to their customers. Banks violate their fiduciary responsibility to customers when they mis-sell mutual funds, insurance or wealth management services; they get away with it because the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has a hands-off approach to products that have separate regulators.

Tough action by RBI or SEBI in Ms Krishnamoorthi’s case would fall squarely within the new global thinking on consumer protection, which has moved away from the meaningless disclosure-based regime that we continue to follow to a policy of ‘treating customers fairly’ and ensuring that financial products are simple, easy to understand and sold on the basis of the customers’ needs and financial profile. Let’s look at a couple of key issues that came up at this consumer-centric discussion.

The multiplicity of regulators, and having similar products regulated by different regulators, leading to regulatory arbitrage and conflict between regulators was flagged off as an important concern. Turf wars between SEBI and the insurance regulator and the fact that we have a separate pension regulator when asset management companies will manage the pension funds were cited as examples.

A prominent view was that the lack of coordination between regulators was the key reason for conflicts and inappropriate regulation. And coordination was missing because regulatory bodies had become sinecures for retired bureaucrats who, often, bagged these posts without any relevant experience in the sector. These appointees were then expected to decide on complex, technical and developing issues—a tough act even for those with decades of experience in a given sector. This would not have mattered if regulators were accountable to parliament. Unfortunately, even the standing committees of parliament do not exert any clout because very few members have domain knowledge of, or interest in, regulation, good governance or consumer protection.

In the past year, the appointment of SEBI chairman has been the subject of multiple litigations. There is now a move to extend the term of the current incumbent through an executive decision. Such ugly controversies can be avoided if key appointments are validated by parliament or a select parliamentary committee as is done in the US.

Many panel members felt that the FSLRC’s (Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Committee) recommendation has provided answers to many of these issues by proposing a unified regulator. Unfortunately, dissenting notes by three of the FSLRC’s key members marred the report. One would have thought that a committee as eminent as the FSLRC, which operated on a generous public budget, would have understood the need to hammer out a consensus and present a set of unanimous and unequivocal recommendations. We also find it strange that FSLRC made almost no effort to engage with consumers or consumer organisations in the financial sector.

Prithvi Haldea, chairman of Prime Database group, raised a very significant issue. He pointed out that the absence of a systematic data collection, analysis and interpretation mechanism, that could feed into policy- and regulation-making, is resulting in poor regulation and a lack of regulatory predictability. Mr Haldea’s www.watchoutinvestors.com has been providing yeoman’s service to consumers by publishing orders of a slew of regulatory agencies, quasi-regulatory and self-regulatory organisations in the financial sector and those under the ministry of corporate affairs. Watchoutinvestors.com is doing the job that the government and our regulators ought to be doing, in creating this goldmine of collated, cleaned and standardised information which can be the basis of significant academic research and policy-making. Instead, regulators hardly give the work its due and Mr Haldea says he, often, receive threats and requests to remove regulatory orders posted on the website.

Citing an example of how data capture can improve regulation, Mr Haldea pointed out that promoters, often, reclassify themselves as public investors in order to sidestep regulations and disclosure rules. They also change the classification repeatedly, without any fear of detection, since regulators have no mechanism to track the mischief. In one case detected by Mr Haldea, a promoter had changed his classification from promoter to public investor as many as five times. In the absence professional data-mining, there is no scope for detecting or acting on early warning signals thrown up by these corporate actions.

We, at Moneylife, believe that data-mining and analysis that Mr Haldea refers to, especially with regard to information filed with the registrar of companies, is critical to detect and act against thousands of ponzi schemes or direct marketing scams that are looting gullible Indians everyday.

What was evident from this discussion was that almost every regulatory change that would be considered imperative to true consumer protection would be opposed by corporate lobbies as well as government bureaucrats who enjoy a five-year extension to the power and perks they draw at the highest level. A quick data check would also reveal that all top regulators spend over half of their time on foreign tours. This leaves little time for serious consumer protection. The result is that we have endless articulation and forced spending on ‘financial literacy’, but very little action on the ground.

Sucheta Dalal is the managing editor of Moneylife. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2006 for her outstanding contribution to journalism. She can be reached at [email protected]

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COMMENTS

sathyacumaran

3 years ago

sathya cumaran
operational head india
singapore media and channel group
in the country like india where customers are really fools and their interest is nevr taken into consideration the only motto of business house is to cheat their customers and govt interest is to earn as much as they can for their future generations that is reason why the sons and daughters of politician fight among themselves for power and moeny and end theri life

R P SHIVKUMAR

3 years ago

Brokers are famous for thier misselling to earn brokerage. I had a very bad experience with India Infoline about 6 years back. I had given them Rs 1 lakh to invest in the market after they had come to my home and promised they will give me guaranteed returns of 15 %. I had told them to make only investments and not trade. But the company's franchises used to trade daily in the market and earned brokerage but i did not earn anything. My mistake was that i relied on them and did not stop the pratice. The result was that i lost all my money in January 2008 crash due to overtrading and mismanagement.I had complained to NSE but lost the case as nothing could be proved. There have been other complaints against India Infoline who had won the award as best broker in Asia.
The rules are against small investors who rely on the name of the broker and are thus cheated.
Similar is the case with insurance companies
R P Shivkumar
[email protected]
9820213945

REPLY

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to R P SHIVKUMAR 3 years ago

it is not only brokers even the regulator and ministry of finance is hand in glow in this system. that is why there is mass looting going on in financial market.

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to R P SHIVKUMAR 3 years ago

Mr Shivkumar. You are just the profile of persons who led us to start Moneylife foundation. It is a not-for-profit organisation. I would urge you to go to our website http://foundation.moneylife.in and watch some of our videos under events. It will help you not to get cheated.
As for your insurance issue, you will find hundreds like you. If you write to moneylife, do register under the insurance helpline - it is free. you will find details in the right hand column right here!

nagesh kini

In Reply to R P SHIVKUMAR 3 years ago

never give money or a carte blanche to trade by way of a p/a.just order them to buy shares of aaa companies, monitor them with their advice and sell them at the appropriate time or simply hold on to collect dividends and bonus. pms is for people who have idle money to throw around and not for you and me!

sreenath

In Reply to R P SHIVKUMAR 3 years ago

sathyacumaran
operational head india
singapore media and channel group
I have solid proof such my letters for issueing physical contract slips and ledger and holding statment and revocation of POA and margin fudning AND non issuance of Delivery insitruction booklet inspite of this the sebi nse bse are not taking the case this shows that these insitution are waste or infact our indian adminsitration is so weak that corruption at all levels inculding the adminsitrative services and this shows how weak is the indian govt and now we have decided to expose this episode of maladminsitration to international court to expose about indian adminsiteation before that we need moneylife support india infoline and reliance securities had cheated me we need jsutice

sreenath

3 years ago

sathyacumaran
I would like to bring it the notice of Money life that NSE BSE SEBI Never do any justice to the individual investors even the IGRP meeting where the judges are unaware of the rules and regulations of the stock exchanges even what ever the rules they knew if they put forth to stock broking representative inspite of the stock broking firm representative accepting that they have not compiled the rules of the stock exchanges in front of the Exchange staff neither the exchange staff nor the IGRP judges have any authroity to issue show cause notice to broking firm we feel that these IGRP judges are those Advocates who donot have any practice and who loiter in the court complex for cases and they are in favour of broking houses for which they would be sufficently rewarded for softpeddaling the issue and more over the broking firms inspite of lapses on their side they try to use the Police force to keep the investors at check and as sn investor and affected person we request the moneylife to take this issue and restore justice to the client is humbly messaGe given to Madam Suchetra Dalal

REPLY

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to sreenath 3 years ago

fully agree. i had the same experience when i filed a complaint with mrtpc.even though the broker has given it in writing that what i have complained is happening. the mrt lawyer or the judge could not take that into account to decide the case. even mrtpc did not make sebi a party to the case.even today i dont know what happened to the cse filed by mrtpc on my coplaint. and i was called as witness.

Dayananda Kamath k

3 years ago

unless the regulator understands their main purpose and duty it is of no use bringing out their failures. regulators are for after retirement posting to the beurocrates and bank chairmans and financial institutions executives. the revnue to them is generated by the participant institutions and not by the small investors so they have vested interest to protect these institutions. so they make a web of rules so that small investor is duped by quoting one or the other rule and institutions are provided with an escape route legally. this is todays rules and laws being enacted.

REPLY

sreenath

In Reply to Dayananda Kamath k 3 years ago

sathyacumaran
why cannot the moneylife take this issue when we file an compliant in sebi or nse bse they appoint some advocates who donot w=have any knowledge about the subject and they say to go for arbitration when the case never warrants for arbitration but we can bring this episode to media lime light as our FM shri PC rightly said only 2% of the population are into the market if we bring that also that would also would vanish and inflation would crop to three digit as well wisher of indian economy and country we request RBI and MCA to look into matter and solve this issue before any catstrophe could take place

sreenath

In Reply to Dayananda Kamath k 3 years ago

sathyacumaran
hai dayananda kamath the regulators main duty to brake the law framed by them because only the chairmans are appointed from the panel who are close to ruling party and who polish the shoes the politican and down below staff are govt employee either recurited by UPSC or CAT such as professional like CA MBA and other management institutions and they are bothered about their position and authroity and the stock broking house legal fertinity are mainly law brakers and these staff of sebi nse bse knew the law brakers inorder to get their personal benefit they softpeddal the issue and as such we feel that justice is denied in capital market sector as rightly said PC our FM where only 2% of the toatl population are into stock market that to would be washed in course unless justice is done as an international journalist and also an member of AAP we are now mobilising and movement to restore justice in capital market sector we need your supprot

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to sreenath 3 years ago

sure i am prepared to support and also provide the material. i am fighting these issues since last 10 years. has sent some material even to aap office also.

nagesh kini

In Reply to Dayananda Kamath k 3 years ago

mr. kamath your 10 year battle will go on for ever our regulators are just tooth less tigers that can neither bark nor bite. they levy heavy penalties only to get them watered down in appeal. you are fighting a loosing battle!

nagesh kini

3 years ago

The consumer interests are always seen to be the last in the order of priorities and more often than not totally absent too.
Notwithstanding SEBI Chairman Sinha saying "Big or small, all culprits same."
Reminds me of what George Orwell wrote in his Animal Farm ".. but some are more equal than others." Like RIL challenging SEBI decision for not considering consent settlement to get away without admitting guilt!

REPLY

sreenath

In Reply to nagesh kini 3 years ago

sathyacumaran
CHairman of SEBI or RBI are appointed by the central govt who will abide by the rules and regulations of central govt and these officials IAS and IPS inorder to have their power and position they lic the shoes of politician this ia an pitiable condition in india even if there are any straight forward IAS or IPS officers they would be shuntted out to unimportant post and as such the constitution should be amended in such manner that Administration and Politics should be separated there should be apex body for Indian administrative service like an act passed in Parliament and they should be full pwoers like Election commission or Supreme court or CAG then only we can route out the corruption from india till then officals corruption and braking of rules and regualtions owuld be common we request moenylife fight for our cause hats off to them

sreenath

3 years ago

sathyacumaran
operatrional head india
singapore media and channel group
the Indian capital market sector especially stock market and their controlling authorities like sebi nse and bse does not have any ethics or they are intrested in implemetning the law infact we can rightly say the law makers are the law brakers for firnge benefits they derive from the stock broking firms either monetary or non monmetary this is becuase when the unscurpulous politician who in their tenure of five years loot the country and officials who are guiding them in their loot are also tempted to loot and as such in indian adminstrative system earlier there was only saying that there is no accountability but in present scenario we can say there is no honesty no integrity and no morale because our legal system is so weak and prolonging issue that people attitude to forget the issue is rampant unless the media and channel continuously monitor its difficult even the organisation like money life who are fighitng for investors right are threatened by big stock broking houses and also from official missioneries from sebi nse and bse alos from MCA to softpeddal for future election if such is case where is question of justice is the case minority retail investors condition is pitable and among them is mine also hope after reading this we expect some justice otherwise only GOD should save our country from the cluthces of corruption and thsoe culprits should be taught an lesson which is happening in the current session in my case India infoline stock broking firm had cheated to exten of rs 25 crores and this case was dragging for eight long years without any clue and now NSEEL the Spot exchange had cheated IIFL to extent of rs 300 crore this is an official figure announced by IIFLbut unofficially it would have exceeded Rs 1500 crore to be frankly saying there is GOD above us who is watching all our activity and rightly punishes and this fitting example after learing this i request IIFL to consider and refund my rs 25 crore plus interst without further delay hope that would be done

P M Ravindran

3 years ago

'Judicial system has not been able to meet even the modest expectations of the society. Its delays and costs are frustrating, its processes slow and uncertain. People are pushed to seek recourse to extra-legal methods for relief. Trial system both on the civil and criminal side has utterly broken down.' Also, 'Thus we have arrived at a situation in the judicial administration where courts are deemed to exist for judges and lawyers and not for the public seeking justice'.-REPORT OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION TO REVIEW THE WORKING OF THE CONSTITUTION.

If that is the condition of our courts the quasi judicial organisations are worse. In fact the Consumer 'courts' established under the Consumer Protection Act has actually turned the Act into Consumer Persecution Act! For some telling examples please read my blog at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.in/2011/1...

REPLY

nagesh kini

In Reply to P M Ravindran 3 years ago

I entirely agree. I had filed a complaint against the then Indian Airlines Corporation for refund against lost air ticket, possibly the only complaint that the refund was ordered and paid followng the District Forum verdict, IAC went in appeal to the State Forum that upheld it. IAC took it to the National Forum
on a technical ground that the IAC "constituted a state" it was upheld but with strictures passed!

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to P M Ravindran 3 years ago

that is the reason rahul gandhi wants for every trivial issue bring a law so that you can go on fighting in courts of law paying hefty fees to lawyers and even judges and your case will go on for ever.this country do not need laws it needs prper implimentation of existing laws.

Abhijit Gosavi

3 years ago

Does this lack of regulation also explain why the Mumbai stock market is so unreliable? It came as a shock to me recently when I learned that index funds in India do worse than managed mutual funds. The reverse is true in most mature/robust stock markets.

SuchindranathAiyerS

3 years ago

Putting consumers at the center would interfere with suborning the resources of the State to the personal pelf, pleasure, pomp and power of India's ruling elites?

Vaibhav Dhoka

3 years ago

Here CONSUMER or AAM Admi has no voice is his/her,their condition is like Guinea Pig which are used in lab testing.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

You're bang on Sucheta.
"Protecting consumers" is the least of the priorities of any of the service providers as also their multiple regulators who pay only lip services.
The govt. and the Planning Commission are seen only to multiply/increase the numbers of the so-called Regulators who have proven they are toothless tigers and watch dogs that can neither bark nor bite.
Even the Consumer Disputes Redressal Fora are no better than judicial courts - they blame lack of infrastructral support.
The poor aam admi consumer is left to fend for him/herself as the Members of the Regulators enjoy safe sinecures and perks!

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