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Special court to fast-track prosecution cases: U K Sinha

Sebi has initiated more than 2,100 attachment proceedings in over 700 cases so far under the new powers.

Mumbai: Confident that reforms in IPO market will improve ease of doing business in the country, Sebi chief U K Sinha has said the regulator is also determined to bring fraudsters to book and has attached assets worth Rs 2,000 crore to protect investors' interest.

Sinha also said that the special court, set up here to hear cases filed by the regulator, would help fast-track the prosecution and recovery proceedings against the defaulters and get the investors their money back expeditiously.

A decision to set up special courts was taken following amendments to the Sebi Act last year, which also provided greater powers to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in delivering its mandate to protect the interest of the investors and regulate the capital markets.

"A special court has been set up in Mumbai. We have started filing cases there," the Sebi Chairman said.
Sinha said that the new powers have been very helpful to Sebi in delivering its mandate and for bringing to book the defaulters including those defrauding the gullible investors with illicit money-pooling schemes promising huge returns.

"The good thing has been that on collective investment schemes, there is a clarity that anything more than Rs 100 crore is a CIS. Earlier this was not clear.

"This is one major thing that has happened. Our power of recovery has also helped us. We have already attached more than Rs 2,000 crore worth of assets. Thirdly, a special court has been set up," Sinha told PTI in an interview here.

As per the available data, Sebi has initiated more than 2,100 attachment proceedings in over 700 cases so far under the new powers.

These proceedings include attachment of bank and demat accounts, attachment of movable and immovable properties, appointment of receivers for management of attached properties and arrest and detention of defaulters.

Sebi can now pass attachment orders and launch recovery proceedings against fraudsters and market manipulators, including those running illegal deposit schemes.

While Sebi was established more than 25 years ago, it has got direct recovery powers recently to act against those refusing to pay penalties and other dues.

Earlier, Sebi had to follow a time-consuming process of filing prosecution against defaulters and fraudsters, and the number of defaulters refusing to pay the dues had crossed 1,300 last year.