SEBI will not get power to directly tap the phone calls, however, it would get call data records through agencies, says the Finance Minister
New Delhi: The government is making an arrangement for market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) getting access to call data records of people being probed by it in specific cases, but it will not get power to directly tap the phone calls, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said, reports PTI.
"... Some arrangement is being made that the call data records will be supplied through the agencies entitled to get them to SEBI," Chidambaram told PTI in an interview.
"They (SEBI) won't have the power to directly tap into the phone calls. Records can be made available to them by the authorities concerned. Some progress is being made," he said.
He was replying to queries about SEBI seeking access to call data records of people being investigated by it in cases related to the stock markets.
Asked about intelligence reports of some terror groups pumping in money in the stock market, Chidambaram said he was sure that SEBI would look into the matter if tainted money was flowing into the stock market.
Observing that the matter falls into the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry, Chidambaram said: "I can't conduct an enquiry into terror groups putting money into the stock market. If tainted money is flowing into the stock market, I'm sure SEBI will look into it. Intelligence reports are shared with SEBI also. I've no machinery to look into it, except SEBI."
On SEBI's demand for access to call data records, Chidambaram said: "I think some progress was made to make available to SEBI the call data records in specific cases, where an investigation is being done and they want call data records (for their investigation), I think some progress is being made, some arrangement is being made..."
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Wal-Mart has disclosed that it is investigating allegations of corrupt practices and alleged violations of US anti-bribery law in India. However, Indian Commerce Minister Sharma said there is no probe into corruption allegations
On Board PM's Special Plane: Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Sunday said there was no probe into corruption allegations against US retail giant Wal-Mart in India, saying agencies could look into violations if any.
The world's largest retailer has disclosed that it is investigating allegations of corrupt practices and alleged violations of US anti-bribery law in India, China and Brazil, expanding similar ongoing investigations in Mexico.
"Allegations are allegations. In a rule-based and rule-governed country, if there is any violation there are agencies who are there to look into it," Sharma told journalists en route to Phnom Penh along with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when asked to comment about the allegations involving Wal-Mart.
"I should not comment on the alleged FEMA violations which are yet to be probed and even Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that he is yet to get any report," Sharma said.
At the same time, he said there would have been no violations since September when the foreign direct investment (FDI) decision was notified with only one change about dispensation of landlocked states which do not have cities with population of five million.
Wal-Mart has not specified specific charges of corruption in any of the countries it has mentioned but said it is probing allegations of potential violations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of the US.
The FCPA bars bribing officials of foreign governments.
The allegations have come at a time when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is pushing hard its reform agenda, including FDI in retail.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday termed the graft allegations as a "serious issue", and demanded a probe into the matter as well as a reply by the government.