Mumbai, Aug. 20: Sebi has unearthed a large-scale SMS scam wherein fraudsters were luring gullible investors with promise of daily returns of up to Rs 75,000 through mobile text messages.
As an interim measure, Sebi has restrained two individuals and four entities associated with them from direct or indirect dealings in the securities markets till further direction. They have also been asked to desist from acting as investment advisers and portfolio managers.
Besides, they have also been asked to immediately withdraw all advertisements, representations, websites and other materials related to their advisory services.
The messages being circulated included promises of Rs 5,000-75,000 daily earnings in “equity and MCX market with our confirm intra-day tips” and the investors were asked to call on given numbers for “sure shot call”.
Sebi obtained details of the call data records of the telephone numbers used for sending such texts. Thereafter, it conducted a surprise visit to the premises of one Imtiyaz Hanif Khanda and his maternal uncle Vali Mamad Habib Ghaniwala.
This is the first major case where Sebi has used its newly granted powers to access call data records of suspected persons, which it has got through changes in the regulations governing the securities markets through an Ordinance. Sebi has also got powers to conduct search and seizure operations.
Sebi’s investigations found that the said persons through their proprietary concerns, Right Trade, Sai Traders, Bull Trader and Laxmi Traders, were providing unauthorised investment advice.
Besides, Right Trade was also soliciting business of portfolio management services from the general public without being registered as a portfolio manager.
The entities had also made misrepresentations by making unrealistic claims, false statements such as having offices in various countries, FII-based calls and jackpot calls.
“They also made representations in a reckless and careless manner in their messages and websites suggesting things which are not true,” Sebi said.
Sebi said the entities “were engaged in providing intra-day tips for a consideration/profit sharing under a plan under which the trading tips were provided after depositing registration fees into the account of the entity as an advance”.