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Sebi board to discuss NSDL issue afresh
April, 23rd 2011

Facing probing questions from the Supreme Court about clean chit to depository major NSDL in the years-old IPO scam, market regulator Sebi's board will discuss next week whether it needs to revisit its earlier decision.

The Sebi board is scheduled to meet on April 26 to discuss the NSDL matter to finalise its reply to a notice from the apex court, a senior official said.

The Supreme Court on March 28 asked Sebi to reply within four weeks on whether it would revisit its decision to give a clean chit to NSDL (National Securities Depository Ltd) in a major scam related to share allotment irregularities in various initial public offers (IPOs) during 2003-2006 period.

The official said that NSDL was given a clean chit last year by Sebi, when it has C B Bhave as Chairman, but there have been many changes since then at the regulatory authority.

Bhave had recused himself from Sebi board meeting in February 2010, when NSDL matter was discussed, as he had previously been head of the depository.

Bhave's term ended in February this year and he has been succeeded by U K Sinha, while there have been many other changes also in the Sebi board since then. Besides, the matter has now reached the Supreme Court, which has asked Sebi's board to discuss the matter and decide whether it should revisit its earlier decision to give a clean chit to NSDL.

A bench of Justice R V Raveendran and Justice A K Patnaik asked Sebi to clarify whether its board would reconsider the order of a special committee with regard to NSDL.

The Supreme Court bench asked Sebi's board to pass an appropriate resolution and place the same before the court.

Sebi's board had given NSDL the clean chit after setting aside the order of the special committee, which had found NSDL to be at fault in the matter.

The issue reached Supreme Court after a special leave petition was filed in the apex court in this regard.

The leading national depository, which enables holding of shares and other securities in demat or electronic format, came under the scanner in 2006 after a probe into IPO scam.

It was charged of not following best practices to detect opening of thousands of fictitious accounts in the name of retail investors for share allotment in IPOs during 2003-06.

Some large investors had used fake documents to open these accounts to corner shares supposed to be allotted to retail investors.

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