SEBI seeks help from banks, KRAs to verify Sahara investors

SEBI invited bids from public sector banks and registered KRAs for assisting it in 'carrying out the KYC-related in-person verification of bondholders' of three crore investors of the two Sahara companies

New Delhi: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has decided to seek help from public sector banks and know-your-customers (KYC) registration agencies (KRAs) for carrying out 'in-person verification' of about three crore investors in the high-profile Sahara case, reports PTI.


SEBI is already in the process of hiring outside investigating agencies to assist it in the matter involving two Sahara group companies, which have been asked by the Supreme Court to refund to their bondholders Rs24,000 crore along with interest of 15% per annum for violating norms in raising funds from public.


The capital markets regulator has now invited bids from public sector banks and SEBI-registered KRAs for assisting it in "carrying out the KYC-related in-person verification of bondholders" in pursuance with implementation of the Supreme Court order dated 31st August.


The court has asked SEBI to facilitate the refund after verifying about 30 crore documents, comprising of application forms and other records of an estimated three crore investors.


SEBI is also hiring a registrar and transfer agent (RTA) to help it in the data and payment processing related works in the case. The RTA's job would involve scanning and verification of investor documents, setting up and managing of toll-free investor helpline and grievance redressal cell and processing of payments to the genuine investors.


As the number of investors involved in the Sahara matter is very large, SEBI has decided to seek help from banks and KRAs as well, for checking the credentials of the investors by way of "in-person verification" of those listed by Sahara group firms as their bondholders.


KRAs are agencies mandated by SEBI to carry out KYC registration activities for various market entities, including brokerage firms and mutual funds.


In a public notice late last month, SEBI had said that Sahara has not submitted the relevant documents to it and the regulator has been receiving complaints of investors being forced to switch to schemes in its other Sahara group companies.


SEBI has asked these investors against yielding to any pressure for switching over their investments in two Sahara companies -- Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) -- to other group companies.


The market regulator has also approached the Supreme Court against Sahara group for not complying with the court order relating to furnishing of documents and other details of the concerned investors within 10 days of the order, dated 31st August.


Demand for gold in India to grow as festival seasons begins

Volume the jewellery demand is likely to be bit muted this Diwali as people are going for other options such as coins, bars and ETFs

Mumbai: With the festival of Diwali along with marriage season around the corner, leading jewellers and bankers hope that the gold sale in India will grow during the festive season, reports PTI.


Prominent jewellery groups and bankers expressed hope that gold price volatility is unlikely to check the jewellery demand and a remarkable sale would be registered during this year's `Dhanteras' (a day in Hindu calendar considered auspicious for gold-buying).


"We expect the sales to grow by 35-40% this Dhanteras. The peak marriage season is immediately after Diwali," Mehul Choksi, chairman and managing director of Gitanjali Group told PTI.


However, in volume terms the growth is expected to be just 10%, as people will go more for light weight jewellery, he said, adding that demand for coins is very strong and has grown 35-40% year-on-year.


Shree Ganesh jewellery House head, marketing, Rahul Singh echoed the same growth estimate.


"With rising prices, light weight jewellery is in demand. People are buying gold jewellery for the upcoming festive and the wedding seasons, anticipating future rise in price. The purchase of gold coins is growing rapidly," he said.


Gold price on weekend was ruling at Rs30,480 per 10 grams on MCX and globally it was at $1,677 an ounce (28.34 grams).


This festive season the demand will pick up because usually, as prices go up the demand rises, World Gold Council Director, Investment, Amresh Achrya said.


Discounts by jewellers would fuel the demand, he added.


Kotak Mahindra Bank Executive Vice President Puneet Kapoor said last Diwali the bank sold 125 kgs of gold coins.


"This year we are expecting at least 20% growth," he said, adding that uptake would mostly be for 5, 8 and 20 gms category.


"As an investment, the yellow metal continues to command long term value, a tag for being a safe haven, hedge against inflation and asset allocation, etc," he said.


Angel Broking's head, commodities Naveen Mathur said the gold prices are likely to rule at around Rs35,500-31,000 level during the festive season. "The demand will be there for jewellery as people realise that gold will not go back to the previous year's level," he added.


However, in volume the jewellery demand will be a bit muted as people have options such as coins, bars and electronic traded funds (ETFs), he added.


HC dismisses petitions against Mayawati in Taj Corridor case

Passing the order, the High Court said all petitions filed against Mayawati in the Taj corridor case were devoid of merit

Lucknow: In a major relief for Uttar Pradesh's former chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati, the Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed petitions against her in the Taj Corridor case, reports PTI.


The Lucknow bench of the court also dismissed the petitions against her cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui.


Passing the order, the bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and Ashwani Kumar Singh said all petitions were devoid of merit and were accordingly being dismissed.


BSP leader and Mayawati's counsel Satish Chandra Mishra termed the petitions filed in the case as "politically motivated" and pursued with "malafide intention".


"There are no offences against Mayawati in the Taj Corridor case," he told reporters after the court delivered a 74-page verdict.


The bench had on 12th September reserved its judgement on the PILs seeking direction for initiation of proceedings of criminal case against Mayawati and Siddiqui.


The special CBI court had in June 2007 dropped proceedings against Mayawati and Siddiqui for lack of prosecution sanction, which was not granted by the then Governor.


After this, three PILs were filed in 2009 challenging the decision of the CBI court. Later three more PILs were filed in this connection.


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