SEBI passes final order on PG Electroplast case

SEBI barred Alfa Fiscal Services and its directors -- Hardik R Bagadia and Bhavesh Natwarlal Sheth from the securities market, except allowing Sheth to sell other securities held in his demat account

New Delhi: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has passed the final order in the matter of alleged irregularities committed by Alfa Fiscal Services and its two directors related to the initial public offering (IPO) of PG Electroplast, reports PTI.


SEBI's order comes a week after SAT directed the market regulator to expedite decision on the case.


The market regulator has barred Alfa Fiscal Services Private Ltd and its directors -- Hardik R Bagadia and Bhavesh Natwarlal Sheth from the securities market.


However, Sheth has been allowed to sell the securities other than shares of PGEL, held by him, if any, in his demat accounts, the final order said.


The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on 29th August had directed SEBI to pass final orders within two weeks in the case related to irregularities in the IPO and trading of the shares of PG Electroplast and another case.


In its final order, SEBI said it was upholding the interim order -- issued on 28 December 2011 -- that barred Alfa Fiscal Services and the two directors from the securities market.


SEBI said it was confirming the "directions issued vide the ad interim ex-parte order dated 28 December 2011 in matter of IPO of PG Electroplast Ltd against Alfa Fiscal Services Private Ltd and its director Hardik R Bagadia and modify the directions issued vide the said order against Bhavesh Natwarlal Sheth...".


The modification is only to the limited extent of allowing Sheth to sell the securities other than shares of PGEL.


According to the order, Sheth shall deposit sale proceeds, in case of any sale, in a bank fixed deposit earning interest and he shall not be allowed to withdraw monies from the said account including interest without the prior permission of SEBI.


During its probe into alleged irregularities in the IPO and trading of the PG Electroplast Ltd shares, SEBI prima facie found that investment company Alfa Fiscal Services and the two directors traded in that scrip with an intention to push the share price higher.


Alfa Fiscal Services and the directors -- Bagadia and Sheth -- approached SAT on the issue.


The appellants submitted to SAT that SEBI's action of not having passed a final order, despite a lapse of more than 7 months, is a major irregularity on the part of the regulator and calls for the order to be set aside.


Sivakasi tragedy: Mourning at Diwali this year

Reports indicate that facilities at the government hospitals at Sivakasi are far from satisfactory and inadequate, besides being poorly equipped. It is important that the state takes adequate measures for management of healthcare in local hospitals to ensure speedy treatment in case of emergencies 

This Diwali will be a day of national mourning for the people who lost their lives in the unfortunate Sivakasi tragedy at the Om Sakthi Fireworks factory on Wednesday, due to poor safety measures.


Reports indicate that so far 39 people have lost their lives, many of whom were neighbours working in the surrounding areas, who came to the site on hearing the explosions, the first of which was heard at 12.20pm and followed by another some 40 minutes later.


The Department of Explosives had, in fact, cancelled the license of the firm only one day earlier, apparently after several warnings were issued to the owners for not adhering to the minimum safety standards. As many as 40 violations had been found before necessitating the licence cancellation. Murugesan, the owner, and other responsible people of the unit are reported to have fled the scene of this unfortunate tragedy.


Sivakasi, in Tamil Nadu, is the home of India’s largest fireworks production, employing more than 40,000 workers directly in some 450 factories with a very large number of other workers involved in related services.


The safety inspectors and Fire Service Officers are permitted to demand the factory owners to either comply with safety norms required or stop the operations until the required measures are in place. So, instead of simply issuing the order for cancellation of the licence, the safety authorities ought to have enforced the rule of locking out the factory premises. Such a move would have made the factory owners to comply with the safety standards and the loss of lives could have been avoided.  


Further reports in the press and the news channels indicate that facilities at the government hospitals at Sivakasi are far from satisfactory and inadequate, besides being poorly equipped, considering the huge working population in these fireworks factories, many of which are on a small scale. Literally, everyone in this town is some way or other involved in the fireworks industry. This is a cottage industry, both licensed and many illegal and even underage children are reportedly employed in these units.


The accident victims, due to poor medical facilities available locally, had to be taken to Madurai by motor vehicles and other nearby areas, many of whom died after being admitted in the hospitals. They may have died because of the transit delays.


As is usual with such tragedies, TN chief minister Jayalalithaa has announced various compensation packages for the victims, for loss of life, injury, etc. While this is an important and humanitarian act, what is more realistic, for the future, is to ensure that the existing facilities at the local hospitals are improved.


It appears that the district administrator had sent in a proposal to the state government last year, involving a capital expenditure of Rs4 crore, against which a sanction for Rs60 lakh has been received, as per media reports.


While the compensation package may give relief to the families of the victims, the fact remains that measures for the future, to prevent such incidents occurring in the place of work has not been put in place.


Equally important, therefore, is the immediate government measures to close all the unlicensed units; close those who do not have safety standards in place; ensure all the employees in such sites have proper insurance cover; increase the number of fire engines and related personnel in the areas of work and direct the police to locate the owners and bring them to justice.


No excuses and no leniency in safety measures should be tolerated.


RBI has no data of Wal-Mart's Rs455 crore in Bharti unit

While Wal-Mart has invested Rs455.8 crore in Cedar Support Services, a unit of Bharti Ventures, through Mauritius, the RBI do not have data of this deal

New Delhi: US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc has invested Rs455.8 crore in a subsidiary of Bharti Ventures in 2010 via its Mauritius arm but the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has no data of the same, reports PTI.


In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on 29 March 2010, Cedar Support Services Ltd (a subsidiary of Bharti Ventures) issued 45.58 crore compulsorily convertible debentures (CCDs) with face value of Rs10 each.


These CCDs were convertible into 42.59 crore equity shares of Rs10 each at a premium of 70 paisa per share. CCDs are a type of debenture in which the whole value of the debenture must be converted into equity by a specified time.


"The debentures are unsecured and convertible at the option of the subscriber (Wal-Mart Mauritius Holdings Co Ltd) within 18 months from the date of issue," he said.


"As per the balance sheet for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011 filed by Cedar Support Services, it is reported that, on 29 March 2010, the company issued 45.58 crore zero percent CCDs with face value of Rs10 each convertible into 42.59 crore equity shares of Rs10 each at a premium of Rs0.70 per share," the minister said.


He said that on conversion, the subscriber will have 49% holding in the equity on the company.


Sharma also said: "The RBI has reported that its database does not have any record of FDI in Cedar Support Services Ltd".


As on 25th June, except six shares, the remaining 44.33 crore shares were held by Bharti Ventures in Cedar Support Services.


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