President Pranab Mukherjee, on Saturday, cleared the re-promulgation of the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) Ordinance that had lapsed on January 15, since Parliament could not pass the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013, in the winter session.

The Ordinance empowers the SEBI Chairman to order searches and seizures and crack downs on Ponzi schemes. The Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013, seeks to empower SEBI to regulate all money pooling scheme worth Rs.100 crore or more, and also attach assets in cases of non-compliance. It also empowers the SEBI Chairman to order “search and seizure operations.” The Bill also seeks to authorise the markets watchdog to demand information, such as phone calls data records, for aiding its securities transactions investigations.

This is the third time the SEBI Ordinance is being re-promulgated. The Ordinance, amending the securities laws, was earlier promulgated by Mr. Mukherjee on July 18, 2013, after the Cabinet gave its approval to amend the SEBI Act, 1992. It was re-promulgated on September 16, 2013. The Finance Ministry has obtained the Cabinet and Election Commission’s approval for the re-promulgation. The move to arm the regulator with more stringent powers comes in the wake of thousands of duped investors reportedly taking to the streets in Siliguri (West Bengal) protesting against the proliferation of chit fund companies there, and the Rs.2,000-crore Sardhaa chit fund scam.