In the SMS and WhatsApp messages, investors were promised 200% assured returns on deposit payments of Rs25,000, along with promises of trading tips
Capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has widened its probe into suspected investment scams through mobile SMS and mobile messenger services like WhatsApp, which are being used to lure investors with a promise of huge returns after initial payments.
Two individuals — Mansoor Rafiq Khanda and Firoz Rafiq Khanda — were on Thursday restrained by SEBI from acting as investment advisors ,after they were allegedly found offering unauthorised ‘trading tips’ through SMS and WhatsApp messages via mobile phones.
SEBI has ordered a further probe into the scam after it noted that the “modus operandi” of these two individuals, as well as names of the operators in this case are similar to the case of Imtiyaz Hanif Khanda and Vali Mamad Habib Ghaniwala, where the regulator had passed restraint orders in August 2013 and December 2013.
“Considering these facts of the case, it may be appropriate for further investigations to find out the connection, if any, between the entities hereinabove (Mansoor and Firoz) and the entities in the orders dated August 20, 2013 and December 30, 2013,” the SEBI said in its interim order issued on Thursday.
The regulator had begun a preliminary probe involving Mansoor and Firoz after complaints that certain entities were offering trading tips through SMS and WhatsApp sent from five distinct mobile numbers, as also some websites.
In these messages, the investors were being promised 200% assured returns on deposit payments of Rs25,000, along with promises of trading tips. The messages also promised monthly gains of Rs25-50 lakh.
Based on the complaint, SEBI undertook the probe by making telephone calls to the concerned mobile numbers and were directed to make necessary payments through a website.
Subsequently, the regulator zeroed on the two Surat residents — Mansoor Rafiq Khanda and Firoz Rafiq Khanda — based on the details gathered of the bank accounts where the money was to be deposited by investors.
According to SEBI, the entities were prima facie acting as investment advisors without necessary regulatory approvals.
“A detailed investigation may bring to light the depth of such activities that are carried out by these entities and the extent of losses caused to investors,” the regulator said.
To safeguard investors' interest, SEBI has asked Mansoor and Firoz as also their associated companies to cease and desist from acting as investment advisors and not to solicit or undertake such activities or any other unregistered activity in the securities market.
They have also been asked to immediately withdraw and remove all advertisements, brochures, documents, and websites, among others, in relation to their investment advisory or any unregistered activity in the securities market.
At the same time, SEBI also cautioned “investors to take their informed investment decisions without being influenced by such messages and advices and to deal with only intermediaries registered with SEBI”.
The government has decided to undertake fresh valuation and assessment of fair share value of HZL to reduce or sell its entire 29.5% stake in the Vedanta group company
The Finance Ministry has started the process for a fresh valuation of Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL), seeking to push through a long-pending sale of the government's residual stake in the company in the current financial year.
The Department of Disinvestment has invited proposals from merchant bankers or chartered accountant firms with experience in handling valuation of companies.
"The government has decided to undertake fresh valuation and assessment of the fair share value of HZL," the department said. Proposals have been sought by 27th June, it added.
HZL had a paid-up capital of Rs845 crore as of 31 March 2013. The government holds a 29.54% stake in the company.
The government sold its majority stake in the erstwhile public sector unit to the Vedanta Group during 2001-03. At present, London-listed Vedanta holds a 64.92% stake in HZL.
Last October, Vedanta shareholders approved increasing the offer to acquire the government's remaining stake in HZL.
The Vedanta board is now empowered to make an offer of up to Rs21,636.56 crore for the government's stake.
At the current share price of Rs172.50, the HZL stake sale would fetch about Rs21,500 crore.
The department was waiting for the general elections to get over before proceeding with the appointment of valuers for HZL.
Hindustan Zinc closed 2.8% higher on Friday, at a price of Rs173 on the BSE, while the S&P BSE Sensex too ended the day 1.5% up at 25,396.
Education, Health and personal care category continue to lead with the highest number of complaints received by ASCI during March 2014
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) under the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned 68 advertisements (ads), across segments, out of 108 complaints it received during March 2014. Advertisements in Personal Care and Healthcare sector continued to lead, with the highest number of complaints, accounting for 44 out of the 68 banned advertisements.
The CCC found educational institutions' claims in print ads by 14 different advertisers which were unsubstantiated. CCC received complaints from various sectors like Health and Personal Care, Education, Food and Beverages. It includes ads from prominent companies like Cadbury's 5 Star, HUL's Vaseline, Wipro's Glucovita Bolts, Heinz's Complan, Zydus Wellness' Everyuth Fairness, PVR Cinemas and CNBC TV18.
HEALTH AND PERSONAL CARE
The CCC found the following claims in health and personal care product or service ads of 44 advertisers, released in the press to be either misleading or false or not adequately/ scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code. Some of the health care products or services ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act. Complaints against the following ads were UPHELD.
Hindustan Unilever: Vaseline Healthy White Lotion showing exaggerated claims of ‘instant whitening’ on skin.
Wipro (Glucovita Bolts): Claims that ‘Glucovita has iron & Glucose which gives energy to the body & brain in 10 seconds. Glucovita acts in 10 seconds.’
Zydus Wellness: Claims that Everyuth Fairness Peel off to be India’s first intelligent delivering whitening technology that targets melanocytes to give unmatched fairness.
Hamdard Laboratories India (Hamdogen Herbal Revitaliser for Men): The product claims to be a Herbal Vitalizer for men.
Deemark Health Care: Deemark Quit Addiction claims that ‘Now addiction towards intoxication won't remain because Deemark has brought an Ayurvedic medicine, ‘Quit Addiction’. Quit Addiction is an ayurvedic medicine which is formulated to refrain from addictions. Quit Addiction is effective to refrain from any type of addiction without any side effect.
Dr Paul's Multispeciality Clinic: Claims that HAIR FAST is the first treatment in the world, researched and developed to secure the fastest hair regrowth irrespective of the hair loss caused by regulating proper hormone level and providing balanced hair nutrition in a perfect combination cyclically, where no ingredients interfere with the action of any other. This ensures the efficiency of biological & metabolic processes which convert hair roots from fall phase to growth phase. Hair fast has no adverse side effects. Results are even faster when combined with HAIR GF Therapy (HAIR GFT).
Indore Diabetes Speciality Center: Claims to ‘reduce weight by sitting at home. Reduces upto 3 to 40 kg, meet for weight loss and inch loss, reduces upto 3 to 6 inches stomach and waist in 20 to 40 days, meet for controlling Sugar (Diabetes) and the thin and skinny can meet for gaining weight’. Visual is misleading.
Raj Medical Store: Keshraj Hair Oil claims that ‘75 year old lady's hair turned black only with Keshraj Oil.’
Jolly Pharma India: Jolly Sunsex Gold Capsules/Oil claims that it ‘increases internal man power: Jug jug jiye jawani’. Product pack visual implies that product is meant to enhance sexual prowess.
Tree Agro Farm India: Rain Tree Diabetic Medicine claims that ‘Rain tree diacure is a full stop for disease of diabetes, ‘100% natural herbal product with no side -effect and no food restriction. It is FSSAI certified.’
Venova Pharmaceuticals: Claims that Tummy Free Capsule ‘whose 100% veg & 100% Ayurvedic formula give flat stomach.’
Repl India: Claims that ‘Tatkal - Ayurvedic Medicine is 100% Ayurvedic. Has no side effects and is enriched with Ashwagandha, White Musli and Shilajit’. Claims imply product meant to enhance sexual pleasure.
Repl India: Breastriim Oil claims that the product enhance breast size.’ ‘Looseness, inflammation, itching and fungus in private parts are some common problems seen in married women. Virgin Oil that tightens the private part again. It gives the feeling of virginity to her husband once again with no side effect.’
Bhagwati Ayurved: Bhagwati Constop claims that ‘HIV- AIDS is no more incurable.
Bhagwati Constop is a sureshot Ayurvedic Medicine for AIDS. It destroys HIV virus, increases CD4 cells’.
Sonnen Insurance Broking Services: Sonnen Insurance claims that ‘Now protect your family @ no cost! 50 lacs term insurance = ‘@ Rs. 1,306 `pm*’) now @ Rs. 0/- . Get 50 lacs as life cover, and get 110% money back at the end of policy term. Save tax upto Rs. 30,000 high life cover. 110% money-back guaranteed. Renew till 65 years of age. Rider options available. Critical illness benefit & no paperwork on online plans.
Autodynamic Engineering: Veg Wash claims that it ‘It is tested & certified by International Laboratories & is recommended by doctors.’
Shakti Plus: Shakti Plus claims that it makes an impression and suggests that the product is for the maintenance or improvement of capacity of human beings for sexual pleasure. The ad is in violation of Drugs and Magic remedies act, 1954, and rule 106 of drugs and cosmetics Rules 1945.
Grover Hair Care Range: Claims that it is ‘effective on bald head and helpful in growing new hair.’
Jolly Pharma: Claims that Jolly Tulsi 51 can keep you safe from diseases by consumption of 5 drops;Increases immunity naturally ;With anti-ageing, anti-aacterial, anti-airal and anti-aungus qualities - 2 Anti-Toxins as well .Jolly Tulsi 51 is a treasure of 51 very essential medicinal qualities, regular consumption of which is helpful to protect from the initial symptoms of mental stress, sleep, blood pressure, all types of skin diseases, ringworm, scabies, itching, acne-pimples, any kind of fever, dengue, malaria, jaundice, cold, cough, stomach and liver related disease, asthma and joint pain, unnecessary fat, heart related disease, diabetes, liver diseases, bad breathe, physical weakness.
O.P. Jindal Institute of Cancer and Research: Claims that the‘prevention from cancer, get rid from cancer, eradication of cancer. Successful treatment of more than 1000 cancer patients.’
Dr. Lama Ayurved: Claims about a ‘sure treatment of psoriasis, leucoderma.’
Jeevan Shakti Capsule: Claims and visual implies that the product is meant to enhance sexual pleasure.
Fathima Homeo Research Centre: Claims ‘to be a perfect cure for infertility in just six months’.
Dukhbhanjan Dawakhana: They are making various claims like ‘get rid of afim, alcohol and other addictions, make health, reduce weight, increase height, successful ayurvedic treatment of hemorrhoids, skin diseases, STDs of men-women.
Sah Speciality Clinic: Claims that they give ‘permanent treatment for manliness and sterility’.
Dr. Grover Eye Hospital: Claims that they can help you ‘get rid of spectacles’.
Godavari Ayurvedic Oride Capsule/oil: Claims that one avoid operation needed to cure bleeding piles, piles and fissures.
Super Super Market Export: Bio - Oil claims that it is ‘no.1 selling scar and stretch marks product in 17 countries. ‘Super: As per independent studies in respective territories. Based on customer perception’.
Oasis Pharma: Claims that the ‘Lowback capsule completely cures waist pain within 2 to 4 weeks by taking the capsule in morning and evening with warm water or milk. The numbness in hand legs in slip disc patients along with waist pain also gets cured’.
Link Pharma: Piles Go Capsules claims that ‘thousands of people have been cured from piles by using Piles Go Capsules, easy and shortest only 10 capsules course.’
NK Medicos & M/s SK Ayurvedic (Hari Pharma): Claims that ‘Mala H.C. cream removes tough freckles, spots, marks, dark circles, enhances your skin tone in 20 days and brings newness on your face’. Lady Amrut Syrup Claims that it is an herbal medicine for women health and beauty. It works for all types of problem in case of women ageing between 15 - 50 years; problems like - Leucorrhoea, regular menstrual flow, high or low flow, irregularity, painful periods, no glow on face, burning in palm and sole’.
Pravaas Foundation: Nasha Mukti Kendra claims that it gives guaranteed treatment for addiction by Ayurvedic medicine; else you will get entire money back. Super states ‘Conditions Apply’.
Vardhan Ayurvedic & Herbal Medicines: Claims that they give ‘successful treatment of obesity’, ‘end increased stomach, heavy waist, thighs, thick neck, heavy chest , legs hands and unnecessary fat’.
Vishnu Physiotherapy: Claims that it gives ‘100% guarantee to make people walk who were suffering from paralysis, spinal problem, head brain operation and non-functioning of hands and legs after their treatment’.
Gurukrupa Clinic: Claims that it helps ‘reduce/gain weight upto 30 kg’, ‘cure knee - waist pain without operation, gives guaranteed result’. One can ‘get rid of alcohol, tobacco without telling someone.’
Elation Hair & Skin Clinic: Claims that you can ‘regain your hair with internationally acclaimed Nano technology’, ‘baldness reversal’. Visuals regarding baldness are misleading.
Muscle Man Sports Nutrition Company: Muscle Man Range of Products work for ‘stunted height, weight loss, shrunken cheeks’. ‘See effect in 10 days, 100% natural with no side effects’.
Leeford Healthcare: Ultrabrite Skin Cream claims that the ‘triple formula of Ultrabrite removes dark circles, spots and marks. Apply Ultrabrite cream on your face 30 minutes before sleeping. Apply sun screen lotion before going out in sun and get spot-less face in few days.’
SBS Biotech: Kesh King Roop Mantra claims that ‘dusky complexion becomes fair and fair becomes fairer.’ It further claims that the regular use of Ayurvedic 'Roop Mantra' face cream capsule and face wash helps to keep your skin fair, soft and smooth. It also helps to cure acne, pimples, rashes, spots- marks etc.’
SBS Biotech: Kesh King Hair Oil claims that ‘only 1 HAIR HEALTH SOLUTION’ with actress Juhi Chawla holding Dr.Juneja’s Kesh King Ayurvedic Medicinal Oil in one hand while holding up her index finger on the other hand.
Aadri Ayurveda: Energy Vardhak claims that it is the ‘only solution which provides new energy if someone has less desire for sex. It cures other problems like masculine weakness, less sperms & guarantees happiness in married life’. They are 100% ayurvedic capsules. Visual implies product meant to enhance sexual pleasure.
Shathayu Ayurveda: Claims that migraine is curable in 4 months. Proper clinical evidence is needed to advertise like this. These are only treatable conditions, curable is not appropriate.
Arogya AmritSansthan: Madhumeh Arogya Amrut claims that it is ‘effective in 15-20 days’, ‘controls BP’, ‘blood sugar level gets balanced’, ‘saves you from kidney problems’, ‘diabetes goes away and doesn’t come back’. The advertisement claims that the product ‘Amrit Ras’ is for cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of diabetes in human beings.
Safe Height Capsule: Claims that it is ‘100% ayurvedic, completely safe, helpful in physical development and no side effect.’
Infinity Educare: Claims that it is ‘No. 1 in India.’
Institute of Fire Engineering & Safety: Claims to be ‘India's No. 1 Fire & Safety Institute.’
Shyam Institute: Claims that ‘10,000 people got jobs from our coaching classes.’
ECC Academy: ‘Within 45 days Bank/Government job.’
Sachdeva College: The advertisement illustrates the details of the number of students selected in various competitive exams.
Sri Sri Institute: Claims that ‘6000 Central Government jobs are from this institute’.
Steadfast Services: ‘100% job guaranteed intensive coaching’, ‘more than 6000 placement’, ‘coaching given in state’s No. 1 factory’, ‘payment of fees can be done after getting a job’
Chanakya IAS Academy: Claims that they get ‘over 2500 selections in IAS, IFS, and IPS.’
Triumphant Institute Management Education Ltd: Claims that T.I.M.E. has ‘the best full time faculty team in Delhi – NCR’.
Institute of Management Studies: Claims that they give ‘100% placement of PGDM (2012-14) batch, 6 months before completion of course’, ‘best industry interface award – ASSOCHAM’, ‘8th in Northern India, Business World’, ‘4th in U.P. Outlook’, ‘Rated A1, AIMA’, ‘5th in U.P. / Uttrakhand, the Week’, ‘3rd in U.P. CSR-GHRDC.’
DAV Institute of Engineering & Technology: Claims that it is ‘100% placement track record of eligible students with highest offered pay package of Rs. 5.65 lacs per annum., 4th top engineering college in Punjab as per CSR-GHRDC survey, 34th rank amongst private colleges of the country as rated by Electronics for You magazine, 39th rank in top engineering colleges of excellence in India as per CSR-GHRDC survey, 66th rank in top engineering college of India as per Data Quest magazine.
IT Point: Claims ‘success guaranteed’.
Institute for Government Service Aspirants: Claims that there is ‘surety for government jobs.’
SMEC Automation: SMEC Claims on its website home page claims that companies hiring from Engineering Companies like Siemens, Areva, JSW, mitsubi, Schneider Electric, Honeywell.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
Cadbury India Ltd: Cadbury 5 star advertisement shows ‘a lady giving birth to a baby who is laughing. The voiceover says that the babies used to be laughing while being born in earlier days and later they started crying at childbirth due to a disease called seriousness. So eat 5 star to become jovial again.’ The CCC concluded that the frames in the TVC showing the process of child birth are gross and offensive. The advertisement contravened Chapter II of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD. This advertisement received 21 such complaints against it.
Heinz India: Heinz claims that its Complan brand 'is a nutrition expert in the category and is formulated as per the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Indians. It advises: make sure that your child drinks Complan thrice a day for adequate nutrition and total health. Right Choice Magazine tested the sugar content of Heinz Complan Natural and found that, when added to 200ml of whole milk, each 33g serving (as recommended by Complan) contains 18.5g of sugar. Three servings a day would therefore add 55.5g of sugar to a child's diet. That’s almost three times the National Institute of Nutrition (India)'s total recommended daily sugar allowance for a 4-9-year old child before they’ve eaten any meals. The CCC concluded that the total intake of added sugar through Complan, when served in milk as suggested on pack instructions, could reach the maximum RDA values. The internet content when referred to in conjunction with pack instructions, contravened Guidelines on Advertising of Foods & Beverages – Clause 8.
The complaint was UPHELD.
Diageo India: The advertisement appears to be a surrogate ad for liquor – Vat 69. The gaming portal mentioned in the ad was non – functional when tried by the complainant. The CCC viewed the print ad and considered the advertiser’s response. The CCC concluded that the ad was a surrogate Ad for a liquor product – VAT 69. The Ad contravened the Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension product or services, and Chapter III.6 of the ASCI Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Clues Network: Dell Wireless Mouse advertisement shows a Dell wireless mouse along with a picture of Dell wireless mouse WM123.The description mentions its USB corded mouse and the price of the mouse is Rs. 350. The original wireless mouse costs Rs.700. This advertisement appears to be misleading. In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the contents of the ad distorts facts and is misleading. The internet ad contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
PVR Cinemas: PVR claims 'unlimited refill offer on soft beverages (Pepsi etc.). The offer is only available from Monday to Thursday; however the poster on a stand does not carry any description that the offer is limited to week days only. The ad does not mention ‘conditions apply’. In the absence of comments from the advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claim offer was misleading by omission in the absence of an appropriate disclaimer. The promotional material contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Aditya Birla Management Corporation: Birla White Putty TVC shows ‘a woman on a scooter without helmet.’ The CCC viewed the TVC and considered the advertiser’s response. The CCC concluded that the visual showing ‘a woman on a scooter without a helmet’, depicts an unsafe practice. The TVC contravened Chapter III.3 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
JCL Teleshopping: Deaddiction claims to ‘de-addict the consumer from any sort of addiction including that of cigars, pan, and alcohol.’ The CCC concluded that the claims in the ad were not substantiated and were misleading by gross exaggeration. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the ASCI Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Arise India: Arise Inverters advertisement an old lady blesses the bride saying ‘putravati bhava’ which is an ancient blessing to have a male child. This statement is typically orthodox and against the government efforts to encourage female child births and against the efforts of state government bodies to stop female foeticide in our country. The CCC concluded that the words ‘Putravati Bhava’ (blessing to have a male child) used in the TVC implied 'guarantee of male child' as a sought after event. This was objectionable and discriminatory against girl child. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.1 (.b) of the ASCI Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Hiox Softwares: The advertisement on youtube says they provide cheap website domains for Rs99. On checking the website, no link providing the mentioned offer was available. The customer support executive confirmed that the cost for the website was Rs399 only. The advertisement distorts facts and is misleading by omission of the conditions applicable to the offer. The Youtube Ad contravened Chapter I.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
CNBC TV18: Its advertisement claims that, ‘CNBC-TV18 was the only channel India watched, during FM’s speech’ by relying on TAM rating of the day part 11:10 am until 12:06 pm. This claim of Network18 for its channel is completely misleading, factually incorrect, unsubstantiated and even disparaging to the other news and non-news channels including Network18’s competitor channels and ET Now. Network18 stated that according to TAM data, with the criteria- CS AB Males 25+, All India of February 17, 2014, the market share during the day part 11:10 am to 12:06 pm (‘Day Part’) was 100%. When calculating the TAM rating for the Day Part, we observed that Network18 had a share of 86% which is in complete contradiction to what Network18 claimed in the Advertisement-1 and, ET Now had a share of 14%, during the said Day Part, which clearly proves that Network18 was not the only channel that India watched during the FM’s speech as claimed by them. TVTs garnered by ET Now during the aforementioned Day Part were 0.290, as against Network18 which garnered 1.680 TVTs.
Thus, it is very clear that channel ET Now also had viewership during that Day Part, which Network18 falsely and with mala-fide intention reduced to 0% in the said Advertisement-1. Claim ‘as being the only channel watched’ is misleading to the viewers as there are 242 channels which had some amount of viewership ranging from 2,000 to 510,000 viewers in the Males 25+ SEC AB TG, out of which, 110 channels in that Day Part had a higher reach than the Channel of Network18. In the absence of comments from the Advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claim, ‘CNBCTV18 was the only channel India watched, during FM’s speech’, was not substantiated and was considered to be misleading. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the ASCI Code. The complaint was UPHELD.