Still eager to work with reliable agency in Sahara case: SEBI

Still eager to work with reliable agency in Sahara case: SEBI Mumbai: After having put on hold the process of appointing a verification agency in the Sahara case, market regulator SEBI on Wednesday said it is still eager to work with some "good and reliable" verification agencies for ascertaining the genuineness of Sahara bond-holders.

"We are very eager that some good and reliable agencies come forward," SEBI Chairman U K Sinha told reporters at an event organised by Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) here.

On SEBI's decision yesterday to withhold the process of appointing the agency, Sinha said, may be the regulator didn't have enough confidence in the agency (under consideration).

Last November, SEBI started the process to select an IPV (in-person verification) agency to help it identify the bondholders of Sahara Housing Investment Corporation and Sahara Real Estate Corporation which have been ordered by the Supreme Court to refund the investors' deposits of Rs 24,000.

SEBI then decided to carry out in-person verification of bondholders, based on the tonnes of documents that Sahara had to submit to the regulator.

Later, the Supreme Court passed another order, allowing Sahara to refund the money in three instalments by the first week of February. But Sahara has defaulted on the January instalment of Rs 10,000 crore.

Meanwhile, Sinha refused to comment on the notification to suspend trading of media firm Deccan Chronicle Holdings (DCHL) scrip by NSE from January 23.

But, he said: "It is a very difficult situation where a company's trading is suspended... It is done keeping in mind that if the trading is allowed to continue, there will be further harm done to small investors."

Sinha also refused to comment on the USL-Diageo deal. There have been reports that the regulator is not happy with the contours of the over Rs 11,100 crore deal.

Earlier, SEBI had sought fresh clarifications from Diageo regarding its Rs 5,441 crore open offer for stake purchase in UB Group's United Spirits.

Sinha also ruled out intervention on Deccan issue, saying that "stock exchanges have their governance norms... Unless, the rules are so widely different that can affect the investors..."

He was responding to a query on the non-uniformity in trading suspension norms, as only NSE has decided to suspend Deccan shares, and not both the exchanges.

Meanwhile, when contacted, BSE told PTI it will not suspend the trading in Deccan Chronicle shares for now.

"We will not suspend trading in DCHL shares now. We will wait till another quarter. As per our rules, trading is suspended in a scrip if it violates listing norms like submission of financial results for two consecutive quarters," a BSE official said.

PTI