Seeking to expedite the resolution of NSEL scam case, the Centre has asked the Maharashtra government to quickly auction Rs 6,116 crore of assets attached so far and refund investors at the earliest.
NSEL, the commodities exchange owned by Financial Technologies, had in July 2013 abruptly suspended trading in most of its contracts. An investigation by commodities regulator the Forward Markets Commission pointed to a Rs 5,500 crore fraud as the the exchange defaulted on obligations to market participants because it did not have enough collateral.
While the scam is being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) and Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the progress is being monitored the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance.
DEA has so far held 11 review meetings, the last one was held on June 6 under the Chairmanship of Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, an official statement said.
“Action has been initiated by the Government of Maharashtra to auction attached properties… The auction of attached properties needs to be expedited and the money realised may be returned to the investors at the earliest following the due procedure,” it added.
After the Maharashtra government issued a fifth Gazette notification on March 17 for attachment of 151 properties worth Rs 358.46 crore, the total value of assets attached so far is now Rs Rs 6,115.25 crore, it was informed at the meeting.
On the merger of NSEL with FTIL, it was informed that the Bombay High Court had restrained the government from notifying the merger details.
“In the review meeting, MCA was requested to take quick action and ensure that the case is handled on priority. Further, it was advised that a senior officer should visit Mumbai to follow up on the Court case,” the statement said.
ED, which is seeking prosecution of NSEL and 67 others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) over Rs 3,721.22 crore of money trail, has been asked to be more proactive and take effective actions quickly.
Also, FIU-IND has been directed to make all out efforts to ensure realisation of the Rs 1.66 crore penalty imposed on NSEL for non-compliance of PMLA.
“Government of Maharashtra is working on proposals for providing additional manpower for Economic Offence Wing of Mumbai Police which is investigating the NSEL case on an urgent basis; augmenting the number of Designated Courts under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (In Financial Establishments) Act, 1999; and deployment of full time competent authorities for dealing exclusively with NSEL related work,” the statement said.
Besides, the state government has initiated action to auction attached properties. At the meeting, it was advised to closely monitor the investigation/prosecution with a view to expediting the refund of the lost investment of public.
SEBI has appointed empanelled auditors to conduct a detailed inspection of books of five brokers of the erstwhile Forward Markets Commission whose names figure in the list of offenders received from EOW, Mumbai Police. SEBI was asked to get the audit of the books of brokers carried out in a comprehensive manner and expedite necessary action under law.