SEBI bars Nikhara Bharath, directors from raising money

Nikhara Bharath Construction and its directors were found collecting money illegally from investors under its grow tree and tree booking schemes, SEBI said

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred Nikhara Bharath Construction Co and its directors from raising fresh money from investors from its collective investment scheme (CIS).


SEBI found that Nikhara was engaged in fund mobilising activity from the public, by floating 'collective investment schemes' -CIS without obtaining certificate of registration from the regulator.


The regulator received a complaint in April last year alleging illegal mobilisation of funds from public by the company under its 'Grow Tree Scheme'/ 'Tree Booking Scheme'.


In an order, SEBI has directed "Nikhara and its directors -- Kodandarama Pilliah Bharathi Balakrishna Murthy and Sreedevi Balakrishnamurthy--not to collect any money from investors from its existing 'scheme'or to launch any new 'scheme'."


It also asked the company "to immediately submit the full inventory of the assets owned by Nikhara out of the amounts collected from the "customers"/ investors under its existing scheme."


SEBI has barred the company from disposing of any of the properties of the existing scheme. It also prohibited Nikhara from diverting any funds raised from public, kept in bank account(s) and/or in the custody of the company.


The regulator has asked the companies to furnish all the information sought by the regulator within 15 days, including, details of amount mobilised and refunded till date, scheme wise list of investors among others. These directions shall take effect immediately and shall be in force until further orders.


"The fund mobilising activity of Nikhara, which is in the nature of a CIS...Has been camouflaged by Nikhara by terming it as a 'real estate development and sales business' only to mislead and attract investment from general public," SEBI said.


IB clearance mandatory for private person before becoming OSD

The Modi government has also asked all its ministers not to appoint officials who had served as personal staff of former ministers in the erstwhile UPA government

The Indian government has made Intelligence Bureau (IB)'s clearance mandatory for appointment of a private person as officer on special duty (OSD) to a minister.


In a directive, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has asked ministries to send a proposal including approval from the concerned minister, willingness of the person to be appointed as OSD and educational qualification certificates (attested by an officer not below the level of Under Secretary) to it.


Besides, it has been made mandatory to send to the DoPT the biodata or earlier service details of the candidate duly attested by the minister concerned, post creation details with the approval of DoPT and the Ministry of Finance, IB report and police report on verification of character and antecedents for processing requests for appointment of private person as OSD.


A clearance from IB is not needed in case a government official being appointed as OSD to a minister, according to the directive.


As per procedure, the final appointment of OSD will be made after the approval of Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).


In a related development, the new government has asked all its ministers not to appoint officials who had served in key positions in the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as former ministers' personal staff.


This comes after a recent controversy over appointment of private secretaries to three Union ministers, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh.


Activists urge BMC to withdraw plan asking for proofs while filing complaint

Activists and citizen have urged the Mumbai Municipal Commissioner to withdraw BMC's move asking people to submit education, occupation and residential proof while filing complaints

Angry citizens and activists have called for the Commissioner of the Municipal Corp of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) or BrihanMumbai Municipal Corp (BMC) to immediately withdraw its move asking complainants to submit education, occupation and residential proof while filing a complaint.

Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner and Right to Information (RTI) activist, said “The practise, which is being followed by D ward and now being advertised appears to effectively stop telephone complaints on 1916 and makes citizens go to BMC offices and give proof of their education, occupation and residence. I am unable to understand the relevance of these (proofs) for filing a complaint”.

The BMC, in an advertisement published on 19th June, proposed that while accepting the complaints, the citizen is required to submit education, occupation and residential proof. Along with that, these details will be displayed on the notice board, the advertisement says. The demand by the MCGM has been made under the Section 36 (H) of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.

Mr Gandhi said, people file complaints with the Municipal Corporation as they are not satisfied with activities like illegal construction, encroachments or corruption.

Considering this as a matter of complainant’s security, he said, “It appears to be designed to harass and intimidate those who wish to file a complaint and also expose them to threats, assaults and murder if they are making complaints of illegal activities. If any citizen comes to harm because of this practise we will hold the Corporation responsible for this”.

Mr Gandhi, drawing his concern over democracy in India, said,  “While India moves towards a better democracy, this move appears to be aimed at targeting and intimidating citizens who take the trouble to highlight the shortcomings and illegal activities. While the nation makes moves to protect whistle blowers, D ward appears to want to muzzle them.”

The advertisement mentions that to discuss the proposal further, MCGM has called for an urgent meeting on 24th June.


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