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Non-defaulting NSEL brokers join hands in defence against probe agencies

Two broker bodies ask members to deposit Rs 5 lakh each in a common pool to take the fight forward

Rajesh Bhayani  |  Mumbai 

Brokerages face Sebi fire in NSEL scam
The BSE Brokers' Forum and Association of National Exchanges members have asked all brokers registered on the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL), prior to its default in 2013, to deposit Rs 5 lakh to a common account to fight their legal battle for justice. 

In their defence, the brokers, who have attracted the ire of almost all security agencies, have stressed that they have not received any proceeds of the crime, and efforts should be made to recover money from the actual NSEL defaulters. Moreover, the money trail of the defaulters has been established.

Off late agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police, and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) were reportedly behind NSEL's brokers, who were not involved in the default. Even the Mumbai High Court had asked Mumbai police to consider attaching their properties.

Uttam Bagri, chairman, BSE Brokers' Forum said, "Brokers (non-defaulters) never got the crime proceeds, nor have they worked in collusion with defaulter(s) or NSEL.  NSEL has been held as a financial establishment under MPID Act, and hence brokers' assets cannot be attached."

Sebi had issued showcause notices to 300 brokers, filing police complaints against them, and the Mumbai High Court had asked the EOW to consider attaching properties of all 632 NSEL brokers, including those registered with Sebi. The high court had specifically mentioned in its order, “the State of Maharashtra has other options to attach the properties of the brokers/defaulters, who fall in the first part of Section 4 (of MPID Act), which says when properties of a financial establishment are insufficient, properties of its prompter, director, partner or manager or members can be attached.”

In the NSEL default case (affecting 13,000 investors, with a default amount Rs 5600 crore), stocks missing from the warehouses and controlled by the exchange form the core of the controversy. 

Bagri said, "Efforts need to be on recovery of money from the defaulters. The attached assets (of defaulters) need to be sold as soon as possible, and the proceeds need to be distributed among investors."

While hearing the petition of 63 Moons, promoter of NSEL, Mumbai HC had questioned why brokers’ assets were not being attached.

Brokers had pitched that they were not party to the petition, and, hence, they were moving court. The hearing was on February 8.

NSEL, on the other hand, has moved court, asking the EOW to file final charge sheets in the case as early as possible. Its case will be heard on January 7. Eow had filed charge sheets against 63 entities last week.

First Published: Fri, January 04 2019. 19:28 IST
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