The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sebi stings rogues on the run

Mumbai, Sept 18: If you thought the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) was a fumbling cop who did little but twiddle his thumbs when rogues went on the rampage, its time you had a leap of faith.

G. N. Bajpai, the man who heads the organisation, says he is doing everything to ensure no offender who takes markets and investors for a ride goes off the hook. Not for the want of a strong case pressed on time.

As part of efforts to tone up its enforcement muscle, the capital market regulator has set rigorous internal benchmarks for its departments to bring about greater alacrity in the pile of cases they frame and contest in courts.

The watchdog has internal benchmarks for all departments in office. Bajpai did not offer details beyond saying that the mechanisms were evolving. These are internal benchmarks we are still working on.

The standards that Sebi has given its departments to achieve will ensure cases are dealt with better and faster. I am trying to expedite cases within Sebi and outside Within the organisation, Ive already passed more than 200 orders in six months, while I have attended more than 250 hearings over the period, he told The Telegraph.

Cases that fall outside its turf are also being pursued vigorously after the regulator took on a proactive role in bringing culprits to book. By and large, our view is being respected. Bajpai cited the recent Mumbai high court order to expedite the insider trading case involving Hindustan Lever as an example of just how corporate skullduggery was being fought.

I am only requesting that you decide. We have the right to appeal and we are all cases with us. We are also approaching the agencies where such cases are hanging fire. If cases are similar to collective investment schemes, we have been bunching and bringing them to the Supreme Court, the Sebi chief said.

A large section of market watchers concedes the old harangue of the watchdog with no teeth no longer convincing. I am working within the framework of the rules and regulations of our set-up. Thereafter, we leave it to the wisdom of the superior courts, Bajpai said.

The fact that the company affairs (DCA) and Sebi are fighting buyback cases against Sterlite Industries and Godrej Industries together is seen a sign of better co-ordination and co-operation in prosecution of offenders.

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