Sebi to hire tax sleuths to beef up enforcement operations

NEW DELHI :  To help in its crackdown on frauds and conduct search and seizure operations, regulator Sebi plans to beef up its enforcement operations by roping in people from tax and excise departments among other agencies.
The capital market watchdog plans to hire people on deputation from Income Tax, Customs and Central Excise departments, among others, while it would also rope in persons from banks and financial institutions, sources said.
Armed with powers to carry out search and seizure as well as arrest violators, the market watchdog has been cracking the whip on illegal money pooling activities.
Sources said the workload of the regulator’s enforcement department has significantly increased in the recent times, making it necessary to have more hands with adequate experience, skills and expertise.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is looking to strengthen its manpower at its head office in Mumbai as also in regional offices for its enforcement division in other parts of the country.
To ensure adequate manpower, the capital market watchdog plans to rope in officers on deputation basis from agencies such as Income Tax, Customs, Central Excise, Banks, Financial Institutions and Asset Recovery Companies, sources said.
The recovery of dues involve lengthy process, co-ordinating with various external agencies, passing quasi-judicial orders, conducting public auctions and handling litigations, among others.
Hence, staff members dealing with recovery process are required to have necessary expertise to deal with defaulters, police authorities and the public, sources said.
Sebi, which has over 600 officers across various divisions, has been given the power to conduct search and seizure and initiate recovery process, but it lacks requisite skills and expertise in these areas.
In 2014 alone, Sebi directed 117 entities to refund over Rs 60,000 crore to investors who were duped by illegal money raising schemes.
The total size of such funds exceeds Rs 1 lakh crore after including the cases where Sebi’s action has been challenged in courts.
Under the amended securities laws, Sebi has been given sweeping powers like attachment of properties, launch of recovery proceedings, seeking call data records to investigate cases and ordering search and seizure against manipulators and fraudsters.
In cases of illegal Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) also, the market watchdog has passed orders against at least 47 companies. (AGENCIES)


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