BMA clients demand relief from SAT, stage protests outside Sebi office

Sebi. (Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar)
Disgruntled clients of brokerage BMA Wealth on Monday approached the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) demanding their securities and funds be credited back to their respective Demat accounts.

BMA clients also held a protest outside the head office of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). 

Initially, the investors were planning to file a complaint with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, when they approached the RBI, they were told that they first need to file a complaint with the bank and then wait for 15 days before the central bank looks into the matter.

Investors requested the SAT to direct bank officials to release pledged shares and funds, like in the case of Karvy. A Sebi order in October 2019 cited an NSE observation that BMA Wealth had pledged securities of its clients with JM Financial, Bajaj Finance, and HDFC Bank, to raise funds.

BMA Wealth’s clients requested the SAT to freeze assets of all the directors of the brokerage and arrest its director Anubhav Bhatter, whom they accuse being the main culprit in this scam.

Further, in their complaint to the SAT, the investors said the response of Sebi and the exchanges in the BMA matter has been inadequate. They lamented that they did not get fair treatment from Sebi, unlike the investors of Karvy Broking. 

The BMA Wealth investors said that they are yet to receive an update from Sebi regarding its meeting with Bhatter last week. "We have been asked to wait for a few days to know the outcome of this meeting, and also wait for the forensic audit," the investors' submissions read. 

Their complaint stated about 45,000 investors had been affected by the alleged fraud.

The BMA investors also had a meeting with Sebi officials on Monday. "We have been told by Sebi officials that they had a meeting Anubhav Bhatter on December 11. And Bhatter has been asked to submit a list of both his and BMA's assets and liabilities," said Sarat Murarka, former national head-broking and wealth, BMA Wealth, who spoke to Sebi officials on behalf of protesters.

Murarka further said Bhatter had a conference call with the investors and franchisees on Saturday and he informed them about his inability to submit the details of the company's assets and liabilities by Monday evening.

The investors of BMA Wealth first staged a protest outside Sebi headquarters at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai on December 9. They allege that their shares have been transferred by BMA Wealth to a pool account without their knowledge and were used to avail loans.
What they want
  • Clients claim that 45,000 investors have been affected by the scam
  • BMA Wealth clients approach the SAT to restore their securities and funds
  • Investors request the SAT to freeze assets of all directors of BMA Wealth
  • They dub response from Sebi & exchanges unsatisfactory

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