Sebi gets more powers for ponzi crackdown, effective execution

New Delhi: Giving regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) more teeth to take on ponzi operators and others defrauding investors, government Wednesday decided to arm the market regulator with direct powers to conduct search and seizure operations, attach properties and access call data records of suspected defaulters.

A proposal to amend the Sebt Act and other relevant regulations was approved by the Union Cabinet this evening to give Sebi greater powers to tackle all kinds of money- collection schemes, as also to help it more effectively take on the defaulters in the stock markets, sources said.

These amendments have been finalised after detailed consultations with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) itself, other regulators, as also with various ministries and government departments.

Once the amendments come into effect, the regulator would have direct powers to carry out search and seizure operations and attach properties of defaulters.

Besides, Sebi would have powers to seek information, such as telephone call data records, from any persons or entities in respect to any securities transaction being probed by it.

The capital market watchdog has been seeking an overhaul of regulations as well as mandate for a long time, given the changing nature of the securities market in general, and newer tools being used by manipulators to take gullible investors for a ride, in particular.

Currently, Sebi can conduct search and seizure only after approval from the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, but this provision is often seen as delaying proceedings and hampering the confidential nature of probe. .