Regulations
PIL against SEBI consent orders gains strength

Delhi High Court allows Midas Touch Investors Association to be impleaded into the public interest litigation against SEBI’s artibrary Consent Orders

 
Despite strenuous objections by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) the Delhi High Court has allowed Midas Touch Investors Association’s application for impleadment in the public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the regulator’s powers to settle cases through its ‘Consent’ orders. 
 
The original PIL filed by one Deepak Khosla against SEBI in 2011 had brought the entire consent proceedings to a halt. Mr Khosla had challenged the very statutory basis of SEBI consent mechanism. 
 
Interestingly, on 8th August, the Delhi High Court bench of justices AK Sikri and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, overruled some strenuous objections and pleadings by SEBI and allowed the investor association to be impleaded in the case. SEBI’s counsel had argued that Midas should file a fresh PIL in the matter and that its action in impleading itself was ‘motivated’ and filed “with a view to lend credibility to the petition” and gain publicity. SEBI had clearly been hoping that its revised consent guidelines would be accepted by the high court and with it the original PIL filed by Mr Khosla, a businessman, would not survive. 
 
This is ironic, since it is Midas Touch’s celebrated case in the 1990s after the Harshad Mehta scam that forced bank mutual funds such as Canbank Mutual Fund’s Canstar to pay the ‘assured’ returns it had promised investors. It is also well-known for its PIL in the aftermath of the IPO (initial Public Offerings) mania in what is better known as the “Vanishing Companies saga”. These are companies which looted investors by floating public issues and vanishing with the funds. Midas Touch, also a SEBI accredited investor association, has been running an Investor Helpline supported by the ministry of corporate affairs.
 
In the impleadment application [CM No 4200 of 2012 in WP(C ) No 6949 of 2011] Ms Madhumita Bhattacharjee, the counsel for Midas Touch said that the NGO can bring additional facts before the court and assist in dispensing justice. The court, while allowing the application, said that Midas “shall not repeat the contentions raised in the PIL”.
 
Midas Touch has said that consent guidelines issued by SEBI, besides being illegal, have been grossly abused. It referred to the  recommendations of  a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) constituted in the wake of the Ketan Parekh scam. The JPC had identified certain corporate entities that colluded with Ketan Parekh (identified as the central figure of the securities scam) and asked SEBI, the ministry of corporate affairs as well as investigation and enforcement agencies to investigate the nexus between them. 
 
Instead of investigating these as asked by the JPC, several of these have been settled using the consent mechanism. In effect, the cases have been selttled “in defiance of the will of the Parliament”, says the NGO. It cites the example of Himachal Fututristic Communications whose matter was settled by SEBI through consent order on payment of Rs10 rore in 2010, and the entire consent process spanning nearly two years, was not reported to the Parliament in the Action Taken Reports. (The cases against Global Tele has also be disposed off by SEBI, while that of the Zee Group was settled via adjudication proceedings and it was let off with a warning and no penal action whatsoever). 
 
Midas’ application stated that the PIL petition of Deepak Khosla has not raised the fact of constitution, investigation, report, recommendations of JPC and action taken reports thereon laid before the Parliament. Midas Touch Investors pointed out that it was one of the eight unconnected organizations/individuals invited by the JPC to depose before it on the scam. Hence, impleading it in the case, would enable it to help the court dispense justice, said Midas’ counsel.
 
Virendra Jain, president of Midas Touch points out that the revision of consent guidelines subsequent to its impleadment application does not make the mechanism legal. The Delhi High Court decision, we believe, has considerably strengthened the case against SEBI’s consent regime. It is important to remember that Midas Touch and investor associations such as Moneylife Foundation (which is a sister entity of Moneylife magazine and a not-for-profit organization) are not the only ones to believe that the consent mechanism is used by SEBI to let off the guilty. Dr Mohan Gopal, a legal luminary, who was a director on the SEBI board has also criticized its working in an explosive letter to the prime minister of India. Please read: Dr Mohan Gopal’s explosive exposé of SEBI’s functioning under Bhave.
 
Moneylife has repeatedly pointed out how the spirit of the consent mechanism has been vitiated by SEBI, by allowing the same persons, entities or intermediaries to file consent and get away by paying a fine. In most cases, the details of the charges filed by SEBI are unclear since the consent order is deliberately opaque; worse, and similar offenses have led to widely divergent payments under the consent terms. 
Also read  Con by Consent.  
 

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COMMENTS

nagesh kini

4 years ago

The Court ought to order that the business of Consent Orders be put an immediate end to as it is rampantly abused and the big fish get away paying peanuts only to get back with impunity to carry old tricks - incorrigible too!

P M Ravindran

4 years ago

Thanks for these informative reports. But I am amoung those who believe that looking for justice in our courts is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Anyhow, even then it is not a hopeless situation, is it? May I also ask : what is the credibility or culpability of the credit rating agencies?

REPLY

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 4 years ago

That is why Thumb Down option is not there in Facebook.

Thumb Up - Credibility,

Thumb Down - Culpability!

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 4 years ago

That is why Thumb Down option is not there in Facebook.

Thumb Up - Credibility,

Thumb Down - Culpability!

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 4 years ago

No culpability, only credibility! Just like Facebook, you like it for its credibility. If you don't like it, no culpability.

You may have selected a politician for his/her credibility, but you can't de-select or reject him/his for culpability.

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to P M Ravindran 4 years ago

No culpability, only credibility! Just like Facebook, you like it for its credibility. If you don't like it, no culpability.

You may have selected a politician for his/her credibility, but you can't de-select or reject him/his for culpability.

Vikas Gupta

4 years ago

SEBI is totally working against investors. I have reported a no. of Complaints to SEBI as well as SCORES, but all my complaints had been settled not in the Investors Interests & not even communicated by SEBI.

REPLY

Rajkumar Singh

In Reply to Vikas Gupta 4 years ago

I understand that SEBI is just a regulatory body, and has no power or authority to initiate any action. It acts as a messenger on behalf of the complainant to remind the erring companies.

Moneylife should be knowing the competent authority or the aggrieved party has to approach Moneylife for resolving the issue.

Rajkumar Singh

4 years ago

We appreciate the painstaking efforts of the Moneylife Team, in their mission to spread the financial literacy, which has been the voice of aggrieved parties, and always remained the voice of investors or savers.

"Hail Moneylife"!

Wishing you a great success.

Rajkumar Singh

4 years ago

We appreciate the painstaking efforts of the Moneylife Team, in their mission to spread the financial literacy, which has been the voice of aggrieved parties, and always remained the voice of investors or savers.

"Hail Moneylife"!

Wishing you a great success.

Home Minister Shinde forced to eat his words, apologise in Rajya Sabha

Shinde while snapping at Jaya Bachchan for interrupting him said, his reply to the Assam violence issue is a serious matter and not the subject of a film, which angered other members

 
New Delhi: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was on Thrusday forced to eat his words and apologise in the Rajya Sabha after he made unwarranted remarks about SP member Jaya Bachchan triggering an uproar, reports PTI.
 
Shinde was replying to a short duration debate on the Assam violence and Bachchan, a well known cine actress interrupted to say that the minister was not responding to specific queries raised by members.
 
"This is a serious matter. This is not the subject of a film," Shinde said snapping at Ms Bachchan for interrupting him.
 
Jaya Bachchan took serious objection to the home minister's comment and was joined by other members triggering an uproar in the House.
 
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said Bachchan is a distinguished celebrity and a member of the House and "as Home Minister of India, you cannot taunt her in this House. I will urge the Home Minister to make amends and withdraw comments so that the House can proceed".
 
Shinde initially persisted, saying that Bachchan was not doing the right thing by interrupting when the Home Minister was speaking in the house.
 
At this Jaitley sought the intervention of Tariq Anwar, who was in the Chair, asking for a deletion of Shinde's remarks if he was not willing to withdraw them.
 
Shinde then said, "If she is hurt by my comments, I apologise for that. She is my sister." The Home Minister maintained that he knew the entire Bachchan family and "I have great respect" (for them).
 
Significantly, the Home Minister concluded his reply abruptly amid protests by Opposition members that he had left important questions unanswered.
 
Taking a dig at Shinde for repeating what he had said on the issue in Lok Sabha yesterday, Balbir Punj (BJP) likened him to a student "who memorises his subject on the previous night and repeats the same regardless of the questions". Some members were heard shouting that Shinde should be sent back to his home state.
 
 
 
 

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COMMENTS

nagesh kini

4 years ago

In the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition Advani goofed with his "Illegitimacy" remark that the speaker had to order to be expunged if not retracted.
Now the amcha Shinde thought he could get away by beating about the bush in answering a valid question. Would it have made any difference if the question was posed by a criminally charged MP or a wrestler and not a film star?
The same Balbir Punj of BJP, in his response to why the MPs blow up crores in study tours abroad - why not when mantris,shantris and babus spurge why not allow the MPs? Any takers?

NPS fee hike to make pension fund management sustainable: IDFC

IDFC said, the proposal to raise fund management charges in NPS will sustain the pension fund industry in the long-run as all players are losing money with the current charges

 
Mumbai: IDFC, one of the fund managers of National Pension Scheme (NPS), said the proposed revision in fund management charges will help sustain the retirement fund industry in the long-run as all players are losing money under the present fee structure, reports PTI.
 
"The proposal to raise fund management charges in NPS will sustain the pension fund industry in the long-run as all players are losing money with the current charges," IDFC Chief Executive for Pension Funds Vikash Raj told reporters here.
 
He said as per the revised NPS guidelines, management charges will be revised soon, which is a welcome step.
 
At present, fund management fee is a dismal 0.0009% per Rs10 lakh in which all fund managers are losing money.
 
However, the revised guidelines have a provision for raising the commission with a cap provided by the pension fund regulator, PFRDA.
 
"If it (the charge) is fixed at around 0.25%, then the business model will be sustainable," Raj said.
 
Reacting to new norms about appointing any number of fund managers from the existing six, he said this would help in garnering a higher number of subscribers.
 
Total corpus of NPS, a contribution-based scheme launched in May 2009, is around Rs18,000 crore, majority of which is contributed by the public sector employees.
 
"As the number of players (fund managers) increase, this will help in raising the investor base," Raj said.
 
NPS, among the low-cost pension schemes in the world, has failed to take off among general public and private sector employees due to less awareness about the plan, he said.
 
"As awareness increases, the NPS is likely to become popular among the private sector employees and general public," he added.
 

User

COMMENTS

SANJAY SINVHAL

4 years ago

If current NPS charges are low, then why are the MFs falling over each other to garner NPS business. They are free to leave this business rather than incurring so called losses. Infact, unlike MFs wherein fund houses have to print application forms, pay commission to agents, spend in Mktg & advtg etc, in NPS they get assured amount every month from employees. So why crib???

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