The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has convened a meeting of leading commodity brokers on Tuesday to hear from them on the alleged violation of various trading laws in the Rs 56-billion National Spot Exchange (NSEL) payment default case.
Sebi is yet to pronounce the final order in the case. The meeting is being convened after the brokers lost their case at the Bombay High Court (HC) in this regard.
To avoid Sebi's stick, companies had sought de-registration of defunct commodity broking companies on NSEL. Sebi had refused and the HC upheld the stand. The brokers include Anand Rathi Commodities, Motilal Oswal Commodities, India Infoline Commodities, Phillip Commodities and Geofin Comtrade, all prominent names.
Sources say these firms do not want to exit commodity broking but wish to continue doing so under a different company banner.
"The markets regulator wants to give a final opportunity to these brokers, found guilty of mis-selling of paired contracts on the NSEL platform, frequent client code modification and other trading guidelines. The HC Committee under the chairmanship of a retired judge found violations of these norms. Hence, Sebi wants to act against these brokers," said sources.
Efforts by this publication to reach these brokers through e-mail and mobile calls proved futile.
Since the Forward Contracts Regulation Act was repealed with effect from end-September 2015 and the Forward Markets Commission was merged into Sebi, the latter has been regulating the NSEL case. A little over a year before, Sebi had issued showcause notices to these brokers as to why they should not be declared as having failed the 'fit and proper' test rule in this regard.
"Any commodity broker found guilty in the NSEL scam is also not fit to work in the securities markets. Sebi must take stern action," said Ketan Shah, head of the NSEL Investors Action Group.
"We are waiting for the court order. We will discuss with lawyers and take appropriate legal remedies," said a spokesperson of India Infoline, one of the affected entities.