President President Pranab Mukherjee cleared the re-promulgation of the SEBI Ordinance that had lapsed on January 15, since Parliament could not pass the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2013 in the Winter session.
The Ordinance empowers the Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) Chairman to to order searches and seizures and crack downs on Ponzi schemes. The Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2013 seeks to empower Sebi to regulate all money pooling scheme worth Rs 100 crore or more and also attach assets in cases of non-compliance. It also empowers the Sebi Chairman to order “search and seizure operations.”
The Bill also also seeks t to authorise the markets watchdog to demand information, such as phone calls data records, for aiding its securities transactions investigations.
This is the third time the Sebi Ordinance is being re-promulgated. The Ordinance amending the Securities Laws was earlier promulgated by Mr. Mukherjee on July 18, 2013 after the Cabinet gave its approval to amend the Sebi Act, 1992 to give the stock markets watchdog additional powers. It was re-promulgated on September 16 2013.
The Finance Ministry has obtained the Cabinet and Election Commission’s approval for the re-promulgation.
The move to arm the regulator with more stringent powers comes in wake of thousands of duped investors reportedly taking to the streets in Siliguri (West Bengal) protesting the proliferation of chit fund companies there and the Rs 2,000-crore Sardhaa chit fund scam.