Sebi to hire investigating agencies for Sahara case

Sebi to hire investigating agencies for Sahara case

Market regulator Sebi plans to hire professional investigating agencies to help it probe matters relating to Sahara group for implementation of a Supreme Court order about refund of money collected from 3 crore investors.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has already asked these investors against yielding to any pressure from "Saharas or their agents" for switching over their investments in two Sahara companies -- SIRECL and SHICL -- to other group companies.

The Supreme Court on August 31 had directed the two Sahara group firms to refund investors' money worth Rs 24,000 crore within three months with 15 per cent interest per annum for violating norms in raising funds from the public.

Now, Sebi has issued a tender inviting applications from "professional investigating agencies for empanelment for conducting investigations in pursuance with the implementation of the Supreme Court order dated August 31..."

The tender coincides with a public notice issued by Sebi, wherein it said that Sahara has not submitted the relevant documents to it and the regulator has been receiving complaints of investors being forced to switch to schemes in its other Sahara group companies.

The market is already abuzz with speculations that the regulator is looking to appoint a Registrar and Transfer Agent (RTA) to handle data processing work for this particular case.

Sebi floated tender for appointment of an RTA late last month and held pre-bid meeting with the potential bidders on October 15, but the regulator has not disclosed so far that the concerned data processing work relates to Sahara case.

In the pre-bid meeting, Sebi informed the interested bidders that the work relates to three crore application forms pertaining to subscription towards bonds.

As per the tender, RTA would have to process application forms and other records of about three crore beneficiaries and an estimated 30 crore documents, consisting of application forms and related papers.

The RTA would need to create and maintain an electronic database of three crore beneficiaries, scan documents running into 30 crore pages, provide toll-free help line facility and a grievance redressal mechanism for these investors.

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