SEBI freezes Aastha shares allotted on preferential basis

SEBI investigations found that only part of the proceeds from the preferential allotment were received by Aastha and the same funds were re-circulated as the allotment consideration from the five entities

New Delhi: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has ordered permanent freezing of 'illegal' shares allotted by Aastha Broadcasting Network about 12 years ago on preferential basis to five of its promoter entities, on charges of fraudulent market dealing, reports PTI.


The shares allotted to five entities -- Chneena Impex Pvt Ltd, CEEAN Impex Pvt Ltd, Smitasha Impex Pvt Ltd Prarekha Exim Pvt Ltd and Bicharshil Traders Ltd -- would remain frozen permanently, SEBI said in an order.


SEBI said the preferential allotment was 'irregular and illegal'. It added that the allotment itself was found to be 'fraudulent'.


According to the regulator, if the "illegally allotted shares" are not frozen permanently, there is every likelihood of those shares being offloaded into the market, which would disturb the equilibrium.


In 2000, the company had allotted 93 lakh shares to various entities on preferential basis. Out of the total, 51 lakh shares were given to five entities.


BSE found that Aastha issued 93 lakh shares on preferential allotment to various entities, where some of them appeared to be related to each other as well as with Aastha.


However, stock exchange BSE was not satisfied with responses of Aastha regarding queries about full consideration from the allottees in respect of preferential allotment.


Later, SEBI investigations found that only part of the proceeds from the preferential allotment were received by Aastha and the same funds were re-circulated as the allotment consideration from the allottees.


In an interim order in January, 2004, SEBI had prohibited the preferential allottees and other entities -- to whom the shares had been transferred by the allottees -- from buying, selling or dealing in securities of Aastha.


SEBI, in its final order in September 2005, prohibited Aastha and other 39 entities from dealing in securities market.


"Since these tainted shares are already dematerialised, the circulation of these shares in the market through trading or otherwise transfer can be prevented by freezing them permanently," SEBI said.


"If this is not done, the noticees who got the shares fraudulently might offload those shares in the market and reduce the value of the existing shareholders. It will also shake the investor confidence," it added.


Formerly known as CMM Broadcasting Network, Aastha broadcasts various spiritual and religious programmes. It broadcasts programmes in Hindi, Gujarati and English.


Currently, shares of Aastha are suspended on the BSE due to penal reasons.


SEBI suspends two broking entities for misleading investors

SEBI suspended registration of Rajkumar C Basantani and Kolar Sharex for allegedly misleading investors

Mumbai, Aug 30 (PTI) Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has suspended the registration of two stock brokers for making false statements regarding issue of bonus shares of Soundcraft Industries in an alleged attempt to mislead the investors.
In separate orders, SEBI said it has suspended broker Rajkumar C Basantani, also Soundcraft Industries Ltd (SIL) promoter and chairman, for one year while brokerage firm Kolar Sharex for three months. Basantani and Kolar Sharex are registered with NSE and BSE, respectively.
The regulator, passed the two orders yesterday, after an investigation into complaints of irregularities against Soundcraft Industries as well as its promoters. The probe looked at the trading of SIL shares between 3 December 2003 to 17 August 2004 to ascertain possible violations.
During this period, the entities related to SIL or the brokers had offloaded 1.02 crore shares of the company on NSE.
SEBI found that Basantani made an announcement of bonus shares to its shareholders on 5 December 2003 and the same was approved by its shareholders on 31 December 2003.
However, SIL failed to dispatch certificates related to bonus shares. Later, when the confirmation about the dispatch of shares was sought from SIL, the company was found closed.
According to SEBI, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) also confirmed that physical share certificates relating to bonus shares were not dispatched.
Thus, the investors who had bought shares of SIL were cheated, at a time when the company was on the verge of closure, the fact which was known to Basantani and Kolar Sharexe and not to common investors.
The regulator said that Kolar Sharex was "instrumental in aiding and abetting SIL and Basantani in making false and misleading announcements which were inherently fraudulent, deceptive and manipulative and intended to induce investors to invest in the scrip of a loss making company." 
"Such device was orchestrated Rajkumar C Basantani who is promoter/director of the noticee (Kolar Sharex)to ensure that entities related to Rajkumar C Basantani/SIL could take advantage of the gullibility of the defrauded investors and offloaded their shares in the market," SEBI said in its order.
Prior to the announcement of bonus issue, shares of SIL were last traded on NSE on 9 September 2003.
After the false announcement of bonus shares by SIL, the trading activity in the scrip rose.


Airtel asked to pay Rs15,000 for 'abrupt' disconnection of call services

Airtel disconnected incoming and outgoing calls on the number of its subscriber for 24 days and was asked to pay Rs10,000 towards compensation for mental and physical harassment and Rs5,000 as cost of litigation

New Delhi: Telecom operator Airtel has been directed by a consumer forum to pay Rs15,000 to a subscriber as compensation for 'harassing' him by abruptly disconnecting call services on his number for 24 days, reports PTI.


Airtel had disconnected incoming and outgoing calls on the number of its subscriber, Delhi resident JC Shivran, on the ground that he had not re-verified his contact details.


"The action taken by the opposite party (Airtel) of disconnection of the call facilities on the complainant's (Shivran) mobile phone appears to be unjustified... The action of abrupt disconnection of incoming and outgoing facilities does not appear to be proper and reasonable.


"Undoubtedly, the complainant has suffered from mental and physical harassment for which he is entitled to be reasonably compensated. We, therefore, direct the opposite party to pay Rs10,000 to him towards compensation for his mental and physical harassment along with Rs5,000 as cost of litigation," the South West District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said.


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