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TMC seeks meeting with SEBI chief to demand 'urgent investigation' into 'possible stock market manipulation'

O’Brien’s letter on Thursday follows Gokhale’s communications to SEBI on June 5 and 11 raising the issue of possible manipulation of the market using exit polls that did not match the actual results.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 10:43 IST

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New Delhi: The rise and fall of the stock market around the Lok Sabha election results is becoming a rallying point for the Opposition ahead of Parliament session with Trinamool Congress now seeking a meeting with market regulator SEBI’s chief to demand an “urgent investigation” into the “possible stock market manipulation” using “misleading exit polls”.

Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek O’Brien wrote to SEBI Chairperson Madhabi Puri Bach for a meeting with four party MPs Kalyan Banerjee, Sagarika Ghose, Pratima Mondal and Saket Gokhale on Tuesday to impress upon the SEBI to order a probe whether poll agencies had “manipulated” predictions to benefit themselves among other things.

They also want the investigation to see whether the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to people to invest in stocks claiming that the market will shoot up on June 4 was an “attempt to actively influence the markets”.

Some politicians who are now part of the NDA government, their spouses and families have made “massive profits” following spike in their stocks after the exit polls, O’Brien said adding that it should be investigated whether these leaders had any links with pollsters and connived in putting out “misleading” exit poll numbers.

O’Brien’s letter on Thursday follows Gokhale’s communications to SEBI on June 5 and 11 raising the issue of possible manipulation of the market using exit polls that did not match the actual results. Citing a media report, he also said some pollsters also conducted surveys for foreign investors and it is to be investigated whether they shared the actual predictions with them.

On June 6, top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed Modi and Shah were “directly involved” in the country's “biggest stock market scam” in which retail investors lost Rs 30 lakh crore and demanded a probe by the Joint Parliamentary Committee into what he described as a “criminal act”. RSP also demanded a JPC into the stock market “scam”.

Sources said one each from Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) will also join the Trinamool delegation. They said SEBI has informed that Bach is not available to which the Trinamool has requested the regulator to depute a senior official to meet the delegation.

On Modi and Shah, O’Brien said they were not “registered” investment advisors but advised people to buy stocks in interviews during the Lok Sabha campaign.

He said the Indian stock markets saw a huge spike on June 3 with NIFTY going up by 733 points (3.25 per cent) and SENSEX by 2,507 points (3.39 per cent) after exit polls on June 1 predicted a huge victory for the BJP. But on June 4 as election results came, it crashed heavily with NIFTY losing 1,379 points (5.93 per cent) and SENSEX 4,389 points (5.74 per cent).

The exit polls, especially the India Today-My Axis India poll which is the most viewed, were “completely misleading” while pointing out that the discrepancy between exit poll predictions and actual results in West Bengal was over 150 per cent, he said.

“It is impossible to believe that any experienced pollster could be off-the-mark by such a huge margin. These unrealistic numbers misled investors when the markets, buoyed by the exit poll predictions, surged massively on June 3. The same investors suffered over Rs 30 lakh crore in losses when markets subsequently crashed…” he said.

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Published 15 June 2024, 10:43 IST

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