Tribunal upholds March order of Sebi that had declared Jignesh Shah- promoted FTIL unfit to hold shares in any exchanges

Mumbai : The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) dismissed FTIL’s plea against a SEBI order declaring it unfit to hold stakes in bourses, citing a similar directive to Jignesh Shah-promoted company by the commodity markets regulator, holding that orders passed by one regulator would apply to others too. SAT, by a majority order, gave Financial Technologies India limited (FTIL) four weeks to divest its shares in bourses, including MCX-SX.

“An order passed by one regulator would have to de-facto apply to other regulators and not following this principle would defeat the spirit of regulation,” Presiding Officer J P Devdhar said. He said the moot question was if the orders of one regulator have a bearing on others, and ruled in favour of Sebi, saying the trades regulated by the commodity markets regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) are similar to those taken care of by Sebi.

Sebi’s order had followed a similar directive by the FMC after a Rs 5,600-crore payment scam in NSEL came to light. FTIL owned 99.99 per cent of NSEL. SAT member A S Lamba gave a contrarian view and termed Sebi order as “unprofessional”. Devadhar said that as the 90-day window granted to FTIL by SEBI for divesting its stakes had already expired, the company can take another four weeks to exit its holdings. FTIL owns 26 per cent in commodities bourse MCX and has a 70 per cent stake in MCX-SX and MCX-SX Clearing Corporation. Its MCX-SX ownership is at 5 per cent through equity and the rest through convertible warrants. At the time of the Sebi order, FTIL and MCX held just under 5% stake in the stock exchange MCX-SX. The troubled company also has stakes in the Delhi Stock Exchange and Vadodara Stock Exchange in addition to a small holding in the NSE.  The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had passed an order on March 19 stating that FTIL was not “fit and proper” to hold any stakes in any of these exchanges.

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