StockGuru mastermind bombards SEBI with RTI queries
New Delhi: In an interesting use of the RTI Act, the main accused of over Rs 1,500-crore 'StockGuru' scam is repeatedly seeking information on various money guarantee products and services, as also on regulatory jurisdiction and functions of capital markets regulator SEBI.
Not satisfied with the replies given by SEBI, he has also filed appeals before the capital markets regulator's Appellate Authority for information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and two such appeals were disposed off last week.
At least two such appeals by the applicant Ulhas who goes by several names like Lokeshwar Dev and Ulhas Khaire, have already been disposed off by the Appellate Authority in the past -- one in September and the other in June this year.
After probing the activities of SGI Group (StockGuru India), SEBI had passed an order in January against Ulhas, his wife and other entities associated with them, wherein they were barred from capital markets for 10 years and were asked to refund the money collected fraudulently from investors.
The entities floated by the two for their dubious schemes included SGI, SGI Research and Analysis and StockGuru.Com.
In his latest RTI plea, Ulhas sought information of products like 'Shubh Dhanvarsha' and the companies promoting 100 percent money-back schemes, as also on SEBI's powers to regulate 'technical/fundamental' analysis business and financial consultancy business in the country.
After hearing his appeals, the Appellate Authority passed two separate orders on October 1, wherein it said SEBI was not obliged to provide a response where the information sought is not specific. It also asked Ulhas to make fresh application "specifying clearly the exact information he wants from SEBI."
The details sought by him through earlier RTI queries included those related to regulations governing various money-back products and services, as also on the permission granted to various entities engaged in such activities.
In one of his earlier appeals, Ulhas said he was aggrieved with SEBI's reply and the regulator always tries to "hide information... (and) was abusing RTI, as I am the owner of SGI Group and asking for the information for myself."
Earlier this year, Ulhas had tried to get information through RTI from SEBI about complaints and other information against him available with the regulator.
Besides, he had also sought to know whether any company needs to take SEBI's permission before offering a 100 percent money back guarantee products, refunds or bonds.
Lokeshwar and his wife Priyanka Dev were arrested by Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing in November last year and are facing a multi-agency probe for allegedly duping lakhs of investors of more than Rs 1,500 crore.
In his latest two RTI applications, Ulhas had submitted 36 queries, while in his earlier two attempts he had sought answers to another 36 questions.
"I feel they (SEBI) are deliberately and intentionally hiding the information so that justice is denied to me," he said in one of his earlier appeals.