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SEBI bars 15 guest experts of Zee Business channel for unlawful trading, fines them ₹7.41 crore

Feb 9, 2024

Capital markets regulator Sebi on Thursday issued orders of action against 15 guest experts of the Zee Business channel for unlawful trading. The entities made unlawful gains to the tune of ₹7.41 crore from such trades and the profit was shared with guest experts as per prior understanding, Sebi noted.

The market regulator also asked the guest experts to pay ₹7.41 crore. The guest experts appeared on the Zee Business channel from 1 February 2022 and 31 December 2022. "The facts of this case demonstrates clear scheme of manipulation to harm the interest of investors by misguiding them to take position in securities so that profit makers could make profit at the cost of such investors," Sebi said in its 127-page order.

Unlawful gains made by these profit makers come, directly or indirectly, from the pockets of innocent investors who follow the advice of guest experts unaware of the fraudulent scheme, it added.

Further, Sebi restrained all the 10 entities "from buying, selling or dealing in securities, either directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever until further orders".

Also, the regulator has asked Zee Media Corporation to preserve and maintain all records, documents video records, along with their content, related to the guest experts and concerned shows till the final order of is passed.

The list includes names like Simi Bhaumik, Mudit Goyal Himanshu Gupta, Ashish Kelkar, Kiran Jadhav, Ramawatar Lalchand Chotia, SAAR Securities India Private Limited, Ajaykumar Ramakant Sharma, Rupesh Kumar Matoliya, Nitin Chhalani, Kanhya Trading Company, Manan Sharecom Private Limited, SAAR Commodities Private Limited, Partha Sarathi Dhar and Nirmal Kumar Soni.

SEBI in its order said that all the 15 guest experts are restrained from buying, selling or dealing in securities, either directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever until further orders.

The present proceedings are emerging from an investigation conducted by Sebi to examine high correlation between the trading activities of certain entities and the stock recommendations given by guest experts featuring in different shows broadcasted on the television channel Zee Business during the period starting from February 1, 2022 and ending with December 31, 2022.

Considering the prima facie pattern of correlation of trades of suspect entities with recommendations made by guest experts on Zee Business, further investigation was undertaken in order to gather evidence of possible violation of Sebi rules.

Subsequently,a search and seizure operation was carried out on the premises of suspect entities after obtaining a Court order.

During the operation, certain electronic devices were seized and statement were recorded under oath.

[Mint]

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