Financial Intelligence Unit begins probe in NSEL crisis

PTI Posted online: Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : The Financial Intelligence Unit has begun a probe into the transactions of investors and owners of crisis-ridden National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) after probe agencies investigating the bourse detected alleged discrepancies in financial dealings.

The FIU, under the Union Finance Ministry, is the central agency which is tasked to collect, analyse and disseminate reports related to suspicious transactions and doubtful cash remissions or withdrawals to various law enforcement agencies for action at their end.

Days after the Income Tax department conducted surveys on over two dozen investors of the exchange, the FIU, sources said, was alerted and ask to prepare dossiers about movement of cash and funds of all those involved in the transactions.

The two reports prepared by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the RBI early this month are understood to have made recommendations for an intense "search" of financial databases and records of the activities of the entities involved in the operations of the bourse over a period of time.

The FIU, which is an empowered agency for undertaking penal action under money laundering laws, however, will not take any action on its end but will essentially support the CBI and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in conducting their investigation, sources privy to the development said.

The preliminary information digged out by the FIU in the NSEL case has been of vital help to the I-T department as it is probing any possible instance of black funds involved in the bourse or entities involved, they said.

NSEL, a part of the Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies (FTIL) group, is grappling with a Rs 5,600 crore payment crisis after it had to suspend trading on July 31 after a government directive.

It has defaulted on six consecutive weekly payments to its investors.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has recently said three authorities -- the CBI, the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) -- are looking into the payment crisis at the commodity exchange, as per recommendations of the high-level committee headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram.

There are around 17,000 investors in NSEL, out of which 9,000 traded through top eight brokers, including Anand Rathi, Motilal Oswal, India Infoline and Systematix.