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Peter PAN's business booms as deadline expires
January, 09th 2007

The Securities and Exchange Board of Indias decision to make permanent account numbers compulsory for demat account holders may have left many investors grumbling. But, for some like Jagat Prakash (name changed), who works at a chartered accountant firm in Navi Mumbai, the development has turned out to be a blessing. Jagat and many others like him are offering to complete the paperwork required for obtaining a PAN card for investors whose demat accounts have been frozen for not complying with the December 31-deadline for submitting proof of PAN.

People providing such services are charging anything between Rs 300 to Rs 500 per PAN card. They are approaching their client by pasting their numbers at various places like trains, buses, PCO booths and even grocery shops.

Says Mr Prakash, The service is important for those people who have not been able to get the PAN cards due to lack of time. We charge a nominal fee of Rs 300, which includes the authoritys fee of Rs 66. After the January 1-deadline, there is huge rush of people ready to avail our services. The freezing of accounts has left no choice for the people but to activate them immediately.

He says that there is nothing wrong in providing service to the people and charging for it. They are providing the facility of picking up the necessary documents from the home and are even ready to take the payment through cheque if the client is reluctant to pay cash. They are also promising help by way of providing address proof to those who do not possess it.

With increasing number of identification numbers that one needs to possess, some of these unofficial service providers are offering a package deal to draw in clients.

Mr Prakash promises that he would help you in getting the mutual fund identification number (MIN) card also, but would not charge for it as it is free of cost. But, the condition is that your bank should fall near his area of operation.

Another such person claims to be servicing over hundred such clients daily for over a month now.
Even though, there is no underhand dealing in the whole process and the proper procedure is followed. Even the PAN card is delivered to the residence of the demat holder directly in about two weeks, says Vijay Kumar, a Dadar resident.

Demat accounts have now become an integral part of the trading process. When shares are bought or sold, they are delivered through the demat account in the name of the buyer or seller. Post the IPO retail allotment scam involving a handful of market operators who opened multiple demat accounts in fictitious names, strict guidelines have been put in place.

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