Questions put to the finance minister on the manipulation in the F&O segment have been vaguely answered. Who is the ministry of finance looking to protect?
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an independent Member of Parliament (MP) in the Rajya Sabha, recently asked a list of questions pertaining to the Futures and Options (F&O) segment to the finance minister. Most of the questions asked were related to the manipulation in the F&O segment. The questions asked were whether several dubious operator-driven stocks have crashed in response to SEBI’s recent decision to change the eligibility norms for the F&O segment. He also asked for the details of any enquiry made regarding dubious and poor quality stocks being added to the F&O segment.
It seems that the finance minister missed the point and replied that the average decline of the 51 stocks in three weeks from 23 July to 13 August “was only around 0.5% which cannot be termed as a crash warranting an enquiry.” But it’s not all the stocks put together that need to be scrutinised. It is individual stocks that crashed by more than 10% that should have fallen under their radar.
In the first week itself (23 July to 27 July) the 51 stocks which were common to both the NSE and the BSE crashed by an average of 5.95% with around 45 stocks in the red. Out of these, as many as 12 stocks had declined by more than 10% within the week. The Nifty remained flat during this period. Even in the period referred to by the finance minister, there were stock like S Kumars Nationwide and BEML which were down by nearly 30% and 20% respectively. And as many as 25 stocks were negative. Yet these stocks were overlooked. If such is the state of affairs in the ministry of finance, one cannot expect much from the exchanges or even the market regulator.
Moneylife has highlighted the brazen manipulation in creating the F&O list several times in the past. Even as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has stepped in to change the eligibility criteria for F&O nobody seems to have gone into what is, on paper, the role and responsibility of the stock exchanges. Indeed, in a supreme irony, while SEBI’s move is designed at checking manipulation by doing away with illiquid stocks, the bourses have either encouraged manipulation or turned a benign eye towards them.
Read our earlier articles on this:
SEBI slams down on F&O manipulation-I: What was NSE’s role all this while?
SEBI slams down on F&O manipulation-II: NSE and BSE as the first line of regulation stand exposed
Inside story of the National Stock Exchange’s amazing success, leading to hubris, regulatory capture and algo scam