In its crackdown against market manipulations and other violations, SEBI goes by facts of the case and the culprits being a big corporate house or a little-known individual become irrelevant, said its chief U.K. Sinha.
“The message and mantra for SEBI is that we go by the facts of the case, irrespective of whether you are big or small. We have to apply same principle and be fast, that is our approach,” Mr. Sinha said.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman was replying to a question on different sets of criticism often faced by SEBI with regard to its actions against big players.
At times, SEBI has been accused of easily letting off big players, while many large corporate houses have also complained that the capital markets watchdog gets harsher with them to send across a stronger message.
When asked what gets more importance between big players and big violations while dealing with manipulations and other violations, he said, “I am happy that you have given both the examples. We do receive complaints from both the sides. However, I think both sides are overplayed and the fact lies somewhere in between.”
Explaining further, the SEBI chairman said that earlier there was a perception that big people can get away by consent settlement mechanism. He, however, did not take any names.
“Now, we have made the consent mechanism so watertight that offences that are of serious nature, they cannot be consented. We have clarified that through our May 2012 circular. Now, the consent mechanism have been further tightened and the new Ordinance has put the consent process on a very strong pedestal and it has been given a clear-cut legal backing,” Mr. Sinha said.
Among others, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries group have challenged a SEBI decision for not considering a consent settlement plea for an alleged insider trading case.
Some other large corporates that have faced SEBI action include Sahara group, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, as also a host of politically connected entities in relation to fraudulent investment schemes.