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Sebi supersedes CSE board

Calcutta, Dec. 4: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) today toppled the seven-member board of the Calcutta Stock Exchange while appointing an ‘administrator’ to manage the bourse for a year.

The exchange’s secretary, P. K. Ray, said Sebi had appointed Tushar Kanti Das, a retired IAS officer, as the ‘administrator’. Sebi had appointed Das earlier as the ‘officer-on-special-duty’ after the CSE management gave up its search for an executive director.

For all practical purposes, he has been acting as the executive director of the exchange since May. With today’s order, Sebi has vested in him the powers of the executive committee of the bourse.

The exchange ran into trouble after P. K. Sarkar stepped down as executive director earlier this year.

The crisis deepened when four Sebi-appointed directors of the exchange, led by erstwhile president Supriyo Gupta, resigned in a space of nine days, in early September.

The spate of resignations was triggered by a Sebi notice that threatened to topple the bourse’s management. Sebi had pointed out a series of irregularities in the management of the exchange in its ‘show-cause’ notice issued in August.

The seven broker-directors of the exchange, however, were unfazed and decided to stay put. They met members of the Sebi board in September in a bid to explain that the exchange was being managed shoddily.

Though Sebi took two-and-a-half months to issue the marching order, there wasn’t any doubt ever that it was going to oust the broker-directors by exercising its power under section 11 of the Securities Contract (Regulations) Act.

Lyons Range couldn’t recover from the securities scam in 2000-01. Experts say its fate looks murky. Most leading companies have withdrawn their shares and members, too, have shunned the bourse to trade on bigger exchanges. There’s tremendous pressure on earnings, and losses are widening.

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