SEBI slaps Rs20 lakh penalty on two in Platinum Corporation case

SEBI had conducted an investigation into irregularities in trading in the company’s shares during 2007 and 2008 and into the possible violation of the provisions of the SEBI Act, 1992. The investigation was focused on change in promoter’s shareholding and how it got reduced from 11.63% to zero during the quarter December 2007

Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has imposed a fine of Rs20 lakh on two individuals for their involvement in fraudulent trade practices while dealing in shares of Platinum Corporation, reports PTI.

In separate orders, SEBI directed Vinay R Patel and Vasantkumar Bababhai Patel to pay Rs10 lakh each as penalty for their role in the stock market fraud.

The regulator had conducted an investigation into irregularities in trading in the company’s shares during 2007 and 2008 and into the possible violation of the provisions of the SEBI Act, 1992.

The investigation was focused on change in promoter’s shareholding and how it got reduced from 11.63% to zero during the quarter December 2007.

It was found that the trading details at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) did not reflect any sale of shares by the promoters and the details available with the depositories did not contain any off-market debit transactions executed by the promoters.

Investigation unearthed massive fraudulent scheme spread across two years wherein more than 70 persons connected to the promoters and directors of the company “conspired with one another along with the company, pooled shares from various demat accounts and sold more than 90% of equity capital for a consideration of over Rs 20 crore.”

A total of 30 persons, including the two noticees against whom orders were passed, were found to have transferred shares to persons who sold shares in the market and acted as conduit.

According to SEBI, they “thereby, facilitated, aided and abetted the promoters and/or persons connected to the promoters/directors and their commissions and omissions are also part of the conspiracy in fraudulent dumping of shares of Platinum Corporation in the market”.

The regulator had issued show-cause notices to them last year. After going through the submission, SEBI said that the replies received from them were not satisfactory and the noticees had failed to explain their transactions.

“The noticee has transferred shares of the company to Tushar Shah who is the promoter of the company and it is only because of the numerous entities including the noticee, that such huge number of shares of the company have been offloaded in the market at the cost of gullible investors,” SEBI said in one of the orders.

The regulator had in January imposed a penalty totalling Rs24 lakh on 17 entities, including Platinum Corporation director Pratik Shah, on charges ranging from non-disclosure of acquisition of shares to involvement in fraudulent trade practices in dealing with shares of the company.

Earlier this month, SEBI imposed penalties of Rs10 lakh each on 14 others in the same case.

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HPCL to double oil imports from Saudi Arabia next fiscal

HPCL has proposed to buy 3.5 million tonnes of crude oil from Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia in 2012-13 against 1.75 million tonnes of oil bought in current year. It will cut down purchase from Iran to 3 million tonnes in the year beginning April from 3.5 million tonnes in the current year

New Delhi: State-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) will double crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia next fiscal and cut purchases from Iran by over 14%, reports PTI.

HPCL in 2012-13 has proposed to buy 3.5 million tonnes of crude oil from Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia against 1.75 million tonnes of oil bought in current year, the company sources said.

It will cut down purchase from Iran to 3 million tonnes in the year beginning April from 3.5 million tonnes in the current year.

Indian refiners fear problems in paying for crude oil they buy from Iran after the US and European Union imposed fresh sanctions to deter the Islamic regime for its nuclear programme. The refiners are cutting imports from Iran by 10% next fiscal.

Sources said HPCL will keep purchases from Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Iraq and Malaysia unchanged in next fiscal.

It will buy 2.25 million tonnes from Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation, 2.25 million tonnes from State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) of Iraq, 1 million tonnes from Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and 1.25 million tonnes from Petronas of Malaysia.

HPCL’s total crude oil requirement for 2012-13 has been estimated at 18 million tonnes. Out of this, 14.25 million tonnes of crude is proposed to be imported through a combination of term and spot contracts, while the balance 3.75 million tonnes will be sourced from indigenous fields.

Of the imported crude, 11.25 million tonnes will be procured from national oil companies (NOCs) through term contracts, while the balance 3 million tonnes of crude will be sourced from the spot market.

Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals (MRPL) is India biggest buyer of Iranian oil at 7.1 million tonnes in current fiscal while Essar Oil buys 5 million tonnes. IOC has a term contract to buy 1.5 million tonnes while Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) could not commence its 1 million tonnes term imports from Iran this fiscal because it could not open an account with Turkey’s Halkbank for payment to NIOC.

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Govt will try to achieve 7.5-8% growth next fiscal: FM

“PMEAC has pegged growth over 7% this year and 7.5%-8% for next year. We will try to achieve that growth rate,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said while talking to reporters

New Delhi: The government will endeavour to raise the economic growth rate to 7.5% -8% in the next fiscal from about 7% currently, reports PTI quoting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“PMEAC (Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council) has pegged growth over 7% this year and 7.5%-8% for next year. We will try to achieve that growth rate,” he said while talking to reporters here.

The PMEAC in its review of economy released on Wednesday had projected a growth rate of 7.5%-8% for 2012-13. For the current fiscal, the council pegged the growth rate at 7.1%, marginally more than 6.9% projected by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).

The economy grew by 8.4% in 2010-11.

Mr Mukherjee is expected to announce steps to boost the economy in the Budget for 2012-13 to be presented in the Lok Sabha on 16th March.

Referring to the concerns expressed by PMEAC on widening current account deficit (CAD), Mr Mukherjee said, “CAD is a matter of concern. I think we will be able to manage CAD.”

“Our export basket and destinations are getting diversified, with that exports should get a boost”, he added.

Making a case for reducing CAD, which reflects the gap in inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, PMEAC had said, “it will... be judicious to try and limit the CAD... especially as long as international financial markets continue to be adversely impacted by the troubles in the Eurozone.”

Pointing out that the CAD during 2011-12 was likely to be 3.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP), the council had said that efforts were needed to bring it down to 2%-2.5%.

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